PARTICIPATING IN THE OXFAM TRAILWALKER (OR ANY LONG WALK)?
Anna, our podiatrist’s top tips for preparing your feet for the event.
Many people who embark on the challenge of a long distance charity event such as the Oxfam Trailwalker believe that because they can walk around the tan a couple of times that a 100km will be a bit hard, but easily doable. In fact walking for up to 48 hours is no easy feat and the need to train for this is imperative along with preparing your feet for the long long road ahead.
Here are my tips for preparing your feet;
- Shoes– Ensure you have shoes fitted for your foot type and the type of terrain you will be walking on. Every persons biomechanics are different and therefore so are your feetwear needs. Having your feet analysed by a professional is a great way to ensure you have the right shoes from the beginning. You will no doubt need at least 2 pairs of shoes for any trail type event, especially if its wet and off road. I would suggest looking at a running shoe that you can do the majority of your training in and then a trail shoe for the wet, uphill, trail conditions (for people that are running the event then one pair of trail running shoes will suffice)
- Socks–are one of the best investments (after your shoes) that you can make. Ensure they are made with Coolmax or a similar moisture wicking technology to ensure water is drawn away from your skin. Have these come up above your ankle and have multiple pairs (best changed at regular intervals). Carry multiple pairs and change at every checkpoint for comfort and protection.
- Skin– You must prepare and care for your skin in the lead up to the event. Any area of your skin that gets large buildups of callous (hard skin) is an area prone to friction and will most likely blister with large volumes of training.
*** IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR LONG DISTANCE WALKING THAT YOU ‘TOUGHEN UP YOUR FEET” BY LEAVING AREAS OF CALLOUS/HARD SKIN. YOU WILL GET BLISTERS IN THESE AREAS.
We recommend having this professionally removed by a podiatrist and to MOISTURISE your entire feet DAILY to increase the elasticity of your skin.
Learn to tape your feet for blister prevention ….you can view my U-tube videos on how to tape your here;
These are techniques that I created and have used over the many years of Oxfam Trailwalker.
These have been tried, tested and are an amazing tool to have to reduce blisters (one of the major reasons people have to pull out of large events)
The tape used is Fixomull Stretch 5 cm.
- Training– you will need to walk at least 75% of the distance of the event you are partaking in. You will need to start at least 6months out from the event and plan your training well. This allows your body to adapt to the change in loading and will ensure you enjoy the event so much more with less chance of injuries. It is not enough to walk just 50% of the event …just like you wouldn’t only run 21 km in the lead up to a marathon. Plan your training well to build up slowing and include a few bigger walks.
- Injury prevention– be it foot, leg, knee, hip or back pain …..any strength inefficiency in your body will raise it’s ugly head as you increase your training. Having a strength and stability program that is tailored to your event will be of great benefit and help reduce over use injuries.
Having your biomechanics, gait and walking assessed by a podiatrist can be very effective in identifying any issues that may cause problems along the way.
Happy Walking !!
By Anna Beetham