Tuesday, 18 January 2011

18th january 2010


        I believe this is very important.

And that's all I'm going to say on the matter.

No, I'm only kidding! Everyone has their own opinion on footwear, everyone has different feet as well as different methods of walking, so it's not possible to state flatly which are the best walking shoes. Obviously the most important thing is that they fit. I walked my first parish in an old pair of nike air, comfortable enough although the biggest mistake I made was just after Santon I got a stone in my shoe and because all I had in mind was to keep going, it finally nestled in next to my second toe. I just took a couple of pain killers and kept going. It rained in the evening as I was passing Jurby airport and stopped before Bride, so I took an opportunity to stop and change into dry gear whilst having a nice cuppa. Socks off though, I realised maybe I should have stopped earlier. The second toe was black.
Shortly after finishing.

         Helen laughed whilst picking up my discarded wet socks with a long stick and said 100% I would lose the toe. I proved her wrong by keeping it. In a small box. I still have it now although it looks a little leathery and dried out. I use it to frighten the kids...
         The nail did regrow although it doesn't attach to the skin just flaps loose like a hinge, I suppose there was enough nail root for this to happen, although the nail and surrounding skin falls off after every race. It just goes to show prevention is better than cure. I now have special elasticated laces that are regulated to my shoes so that they don't require tying, allow me to slip my trainers on and off and expand when my feet swell up, which everyones do after a good few hours as water drops down an collects in the feet. A stone in my shoe now means slip it off, shake it out, and slip it back on again, hardly breaking stride. It doesn't need readjusting either. There are a few different types, I use xtenex laces, at around a fiver a pair are also good value. 

          There are three phases in the life of a pair of trainers. New footwear are built to a standard shape. I got a pair measured to my foot shape for the 2008 parish and they still weren't the right shape, had to be "worn in" so that eventually turned out to be a waste of money. Standard off the shelf trainers are fine. As they are worn, they gradually change to the shape of your feet. Depending on how peculiar the shape of your feet this could produce chaffing and blisters, so short walks are best for breaking in. I'm wearing in a new pair of boots at work at the moment and it's agony at times, but necessary. Once worn in the trainers are fine, but eventually damage to the fibres and the sole will mean they lose this shape, and although they look fine, they don't fit any more. I call this "the arse falling out of them" This is when they should be thrown away as they are no use for long distance walking. I've had a couple of cracking pairs of trainers go like this recently and it's like losing an old friend. So, get the trainers you are doing the Parish in at least a month before, and make sure they are worn in. Don't go with a comfy old favourite pair in case the arse falls out of them halfway and you end up with blisters. I usually have a couple of pairs of cheap standard off the shelf trainers for training, and separate shoes for races. I will be visiting Chris Cale at his shop, Up and Running, for another pair of race shoes when I'm across on the Island next, he has a great wealth of race walking experience and the facilities in the shop to check walking gait to find the best types necessary. I do have a  slight supination which I'm trying to correct with my coach. I walk on the outside of my foot, you can tell if you suffer from this by looking at the wear on the soles of your shoes. 
         Walking with either of these gaits can cause injury so it's a good idea to try and concentrate on countering this whilst training.
         My shoes? Currently I have a pair of Mizuno Wave Harrier 3, which technically are a cross trainer for fell running, but are very light, have a very thin sole so doesn't have much cushioning, which is needed for running as it cushions the landing, but not really necessary for walking if done properly. I'm contemplating the Adizero pro, which are even lighter. I will have 2 pairs worn in and ready for the race. Just in case.
        Training, just a couple of pairs of normal off the shelf trainers. As long as they fit. Alternate between the two so they dry out and stay fresh.
        Sorry this is a long blog today, our lass is watching the eastenders omnibus she sky plussed, and I've already been out for a quick 8 miles this morning. Nothing else to do, really. Sorry.

Happy training!

See, still got the toe. It's in a small collection of toes that have dropped off over the last few years.


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