Training for a pain free 60-mile (The Gear)

When training for and participating in any long distance event, the gear you choose can and will make a big difference in your ability to participate, complete, and recover from the event.

Start with, YOUR FEET!

We know most walkers will be on their feet, walking, for 5-8 hours for 3 days.  That’s a long time and can cause serious issues. Poor shoe and sock choices can result in blisters, knee and hip pain, as well as ankle injuries. (Although curbs can also contribute to those ankle injuries – Just ask my 2011 walking partner)

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  • Your Shoes can make all the difference. My suggestion is to visit a GOOD running store.  The specialists there should be able to watch you walk and suggest the best shoe for you. 
    • My issues are pronation so I need good arch support and narrow feet. New Balance, now, causes me to end up with feet full of blisters. (In the first two walks they were amazing and I didn’t get the first blister during the first walk.)
    • I have worn:
      • New Balance (new make of this one are too wide for me)
      • Mizuno – worked wonders for me
      • Brooks – These are what I plan to wear for this year’s event. 
  • Socks – Good socks and plenty of them. Wet feet are blistered feet!  Keep your feet DRY. When possible.  The 2005 Tampa 3-day was a monsoon with water nearly up to our knees in places.  Dry feet were not an option.  If it is an option keep them dry.
    • I tried MANY different combinations in the past two years to find the right combination to keep my feet blister free. – I discovered my shoes were too wide for my feet (see shoes) Smile
    • The one line of socks that have proven to be the best option for me, personally, have been SmartWool socks.  They don’t match my outfits, but the keep my feet dry and cut way back on friction and blistering.
  • Shorts/skorts – (sorry guys, I can’t help you here.) Ladies, this too can make a big difference. I’ve worn spandex shorts for 4 walks, 1 skort in that time.  If your shorts are too short or ride up, its easy to become very uncomfortable – or worse yet, allow chafing to occur.
    • I’ve had excellent results with longer spandex shorts.
    • I look very forward to walking in my Sparkle Skirts this year.  I just discovered this line of skorts.  They are amazing.  I can’t say enough good stuff about them!  No riding up, tons of pockets, comfortable and FUN~!  I get no kick-backs, I’m just a customer, but I LOVE my sparkle skirts and can’t wait to walk this final Tampa walk in mine.
  • A GOOD Sports Bra.  Nothing worse than those girls flopping around and bouncing for 5-8 hours for 3 days straight… then the pain of the body attempting to recover from it.  I’ve always worn Champion brand sports bras.  They work well for me.  My girlfriend, who is much more endowed than I, wore two at a time to give herself the support she needed.  (I also therefore make sure I have very loose fitting comfy AFTER clothes to relax in after I cross the finish line and shower.)
  • Light Weight tank tops.  A lot of people wear team shirts, we’ve worn team tank tops, but I really like the New Balance tank tops. These are super soft, have a mesh back that wicks water away, and wash well.
  • Fanny pack or back pack – When on the walk, you don’t need to carry a lot of things, but you do need to carry some.  I have a CamelBak that is my bag of choice. It carries a 3 liter water bladder (I only fill it to 1.5) and has a full back pack included.  I keep my water bottle of Performance hydration in the side pocket and inside I carry:
    • A Blister care pack/kit – basic 1st aid kit
    • Knee brace (I have 1 tender knee) & an Ace Bandage
    • Rain Coat (more to keep my gear dry than my person)
    • Handkerchief for walking through cheering stations. (I’m a crier)
    • Spare Socks
    • Chewing gum
    • Cell Phone
    • Snack Bars & My “on the go lunch”
    • Powdered Performance to refill my rehydration bottle.
    • Usually some things for those around me.
    • I also carry a New Trent battery back-up for my Cell phone & a USB cable.
  • Tent Gear – just the basics.  This is only 3 nights and NOT a beauty pageant so I pack very light.
    • Duffel Bag – also doubles as my pillow
    • Light weight sleeping bag
    • 1 top sheet
    • Tarp (in case it rains)
    • Sleeping mat (cheap inflatable mattress to keep me off the ground) 
    • Basic Toiletries.

Hope this helps.  I DO carry my Rehydration backpack on my training walks, mostly loaded as I will have it for the walk, so that my body is used to the weight and what will needed for the event. 

My next 3-day 60-mile topic will be a VERY important one… Hydration!

If you would like more information, subscribe to this blog, contact me, or shoot me a message on FaceBook! 

Training for a (mostly) pain free 60-mile walk

I’ve focused a lot this month on snacks and snacking as a way to maintain health.  For the next couple of weeks, I plan to focus on training for a (mostly) pain free 60-mile walk

I write this as something of which I have first hand experience. I began walking these events as a tribute to my mother, a now, 12 year survivor.

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My first walk was in Farmington Hills, Michigan in 2004. One WEEK after my first hurricane, Hurricane Charlie.  The pain I experienced after this walk, I attributed to the fact that I trained on the flat roads of SW Florida and the event was in Farmington HILLS. Winking smile  I now know differently.

My second in 2005 was in St. Petersburg, Florida, and during a monsoon.  Not sure what I attributed the pain to after this event, but it was SO excruciating that I vowed to never walk again.  And I didn’t, for several years.

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My third in 2011 was also in St Pete. (as have all since)  My ZTA sorority sister, Kendrick Hueble, succumbed to the disease in February of 2011. The idea of the pain she endured, the pain her family endured(s), was nothing compared to the, now dwindling memory, pain after my first two walks. 

I forgot about the former painful results and the fact that I was now 6 years older and into my 40’s”

The pain wasn’t nearly the issue it had been so may years prior.  In fact, it was darn near gone.  I had some stiff muscles, but as I continued to stretch and keep moving, they loosened up and I felt pretty GREAT!

Healthy Knees

My fourth, last year, was amazing.  Other than spending twice as long on my feet as I had planned/anticipated each day, it was amazing at how good I felt.  I trained the same for all 4 of these walks.  The only two factors that were different were my age (not in my favor) and my nutritional choices and, evidently, my health and ability to heal.

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My fifth, to occur a mere 60 days from now! I decided 2 weeks ago, I would WALK this final Tampa Bay event… With only 2.5 months to train for it.  My nutrition and other choices will assist or hinder me as I PUSH to train for a long distance event in a mere 67 days. (I only have 1 day a week to complete long distance training walks)

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The next few blogs will focus on suggestions for optimum recovery and stamina being built for a healthy full 60 miles without needing a week of recovery time when its over.

Items I will discuss:

  1. The right gear
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Don’t poison yourself
  4. Nutrition during training
  5. Nutrition during the event
  6. Recovery process (to be continued)

I’m not focusing on the actual training schedule as that is provided by the SGK website for all walkers.  I am using a RAMPED up hybrid of this table to be ready for the event on time.

For more information, stay tuned, or contact me.

To support me in my fundraising efforts, you can visit my 3-day Walk web page.

HAPPY WALKING!

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