Monday, 13 June 2011

13th June 2011

        Good Evening.

        Just got back in from a quick 10 mile circuit over the hills. I walked to work and back, 10.3 miles each way with 3 hours at work in between. Not too quick, just trying to keep above 5mph just to put some miles on the feet. I got back by 2ish, had a doze on the settee in front of Top Gear, (good old "Dave") and woke to the sun shining through the skylight in my face. A quick green tea with ginger and couldn't resist getting the trainers on for a circuit. A beautiful evening, little cloud, a fresh warm breeze, the smell of fresh cut hay and wild garlic gently mingling with the overpowering stench of fresh slurry spread over the higher fields.
           Not just on the fields either. A new smooth section of tarmac has been laid between two villages on the higher hills, no stones or loose chippings. Ideal to take off the shoes and socks and do some barefoot running to toughen up the feet, something that I've been doing for a while now. Today though, the farmers slurry spreader seemed to be set on dribble as he travelled every inch of my route. He either got lost and didn't know that his machine was covering the road with cow muck, or he deliberately set it to leak and smiled as he imagined everyones car wheels chucking filth on the undersides, with runners and cyclists almost vomiting as they gasped for breath taking in a lungful of stench.

          Blister Prevention. It seems to be one of the biggest concerns to Parish walkers, understandable really as it's one thing common to all and something that can put an end to your race.
       Prevention takes a few forms. Firstly, I've noticed if you think your going to get blisters, they turn up. A sort of auto suggestion, although it's possibly walking in such a way that you're trying to prevent chaffing yet aggrevate the feet.
       Proper good fitting trainers. Not new, and not old and decrepit. It doesn't really matter what make and model, they don't have to be expensive, just nicely worn in, relatively tightly fitting with a little space around the toes. The feet do expand after a few hours with the accumulation of fluids and inflammation of the muscles so perhaps a stop at the bottom of the sloc to untie the laces and do them up again comfortably. I have elasticated laces to make this easy and they also expand with the feet. Adjusting your laces like this will also give you a chance to wipe the feet down and apply cream or gel.
      Some walkers apply tincture of benzoin on sensitive areas, it's used by the US army on blisters their foot soldiers get. Difficult to get hold of though.
      Keep the feet dry. Very important, wet feet rub easily against wet socks and blisters are almost certain. If it's going to rain, coat the feet in vaseline before putting on the socks, or a good medicated ice gel if you can get hold of it. Boots do a good foot cooling gel.

           Socks. Very important. Avoid nylon or acrylic or plastic or none at all. Breathable cotton, most sports shops have good running socks specially for distance runners, my choice is nike dri-fit, (see photo) shaped for left and right foot for extra snug fit, double thickness around the toe and heel, any movement inside the shoe will mean the inner layer stays with your foot, the outer layer with the shoe so avoiding rubbing. Breathable, sweat wicks out and stays out, and elasticated in the right places to fit snugly to the arch. With good well fitting shoes and good sports socks, blisters could be eradicated. Carry spare clean dry socks. Change them if you feel your feet getting uncomfortable.
         Other tips, walk properly landing on the heel and rolling through the toe. Try and avoid twisting the feet as you walk, and try to walk flat, don't walk on the outside or inside of the foot. Try to avoid landing too hard on the foot, don't bounce along, glide smoothly.
         If you get a stone in your shoe, stop and take it out. It sounds obvious, but in my first one in 2007 I got a stone lodged in next to my second toe which I ignored. It sent the toe black and the tip fell off three weeks later. I still have the mummified toe at home.
         Keep the feet well moisturised. Soft supple skin is less prone to blistering, the essential natural oils in the skin keep the outer layer of the skin supple and conforming to contours of the shoes. A good moisturising before bedtime every night can work wonders.
       Finally, and just as important, keep hydrated. When you de-hydrate, one of the first things to dry out is the skin as the body tries to keep fluid going to the brain and other vital organs. This causes skin turger loss, which is the ability for the skin to change shape and return to it's original shape. If this happens to the skin on the feet then blistering is almost inevitable. Last year I suffered a little dehydration and ended up with a blister on the right heel that meant I had to limp the last 30 miles as I tried to keep the pressure off my right heel.
      So keep hydrated, although don't overdo the sports drinks. 1 in 3 is more than enough, plenty of cold water is good. Sports drinks are for recovery after exercising and too many can cause edema, a build up of fluid in the hands and feet which can have a negative effect.

      I think that's all, although the obvious one is get plenty of miles in training to toughen up the feet, but as it's only 12 days to the race it's a little late for that.

      One other thing before Corry comes on. I asked a while ago if anyone wanted me to make up a team and fellow blogger Jonathan Wild asked me if I was interested in his team, the Callin Wild Clumpers. It was just after the closing date but I updated my entry on the SI entries website and it seems to have put me in the team as it's updated my entry. I'm not 100% sure of the rules though and as it's not in the programme I don't know if it's a valid entry for team competition. Is there a facility for changing team members who have to pull out through injury? Whatever, I'm still awaiting confirmation.

     Now, I'm off outside to clean the cows**t off my bestest shoes. Where's the wife's toothbrush?

Night all!


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