Author Topic: New walker seeking some advice  (Read 1145 times)

cmiddlebrook

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New walker seeking some advice
« on: 21:55:00, 11/09/17 »
Hi there,


I'm new to this forum and new to walking. I'm 45, not very fit and I've always had foot problems. I started walking about 6 weeks ago. I started with literally a 10 minute walk around the block near my house! Then a half an hour walk, 45 mins, a couple of miles etc.


I've managed to work up the distance a fair bit. Each weekend I go on a new walk and increase the distance. Last weekend I did 9 miles but it was painful!


My feet were aching around maybe the 6 mile mark (which is a massive improvement to a month ago!) and I was starting to feel that 'hot spot' I think it's called on one of my heels. It did not form a blister but was sore for some time.


What I want to do is just gradually improve all aspects of my fitness (I'm supplementing my weekend walks with different kinds of cardio at the gym during the week) and my distance so that I can eventually do things like the national trails. My dream would be to walk something much longer like the Camino de Santiago but right now the idea of being able to walk around 20 miles every day for weeks seems like an impossible dream!

Will my feet just 'toughen up' by continuing to walk? Is the aching a sign of anything I should be worried about or is that just normal for somebody who is not used to it? Am I doing this the right way by just trying to gradually increase the distance I walk each week? If I have a particular tough day, should I just ease up a bit and do a shorter one the following week? I'm just not sure how I should be training and improving as such.


Oh I should add, I have an extremely sedentary lifestyle. When I do not actually force myself to get out of the house an exercise, I am just sat at a desk 90% of the time and have done for all my adult life. I suspect this contributes to my aching feet, lower back issues etc.


Many thanks!
Caroline

gunwharfman

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #1 on: 22:19:40, 11/09/17 »
I'm guessing maybe, but for some people, getting an ache after 6 miles might be 'normal'? That is of course assuming no actual foot damage or malformed bones, feet etc. I often go through periods of one sort of ache or other, usually during the first two or three days of a hike, sometimes I decide to walk through it, sometimes I stop and rest, massage my feet and so on. I have even found that, for me, it is worth stopping there and then for the night (or not going much further) I lay horizontal, on the odd occasion I could be on my mattress for about 12 hours, I wiggle and stretch my toes and feet and by the morning my feet are back to normal or near normal. I also always wear inserts, in my case Sorbothanes, they help my feet comfort a lot.

Some people I know get shin splints even while walking. I used to get them by running, just can't rember how I solved the problem. I think is was a combination of massaging, rest and walk, run, walk, run?

I have walked for a number of years now and I've never noticed that my feet have hardened up, my skin is supple and they just stay that way. In fact I have come to believe that supple skin is imprtant, it allows flexibility with in the boot.

I would suggest you need to understand 'you', to try to understand why you feel like you do, what sort of feet you have, your gait and so on. I hope some of this is of help.

kinkyboots

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #2 on: 08:01:47, 12/09/17 »
I've managed to work up the distance a fair bit. Each weekend I go on a new walk and increase the distance. Last weekend I did 9 miles but it was painful!

My feet were aching around maybe the 6 mile mark (which is a massive improvement to a month ago!) and I was starting to feel that 'hot spot' I think it's called on one of my heels. It did not form a blister but was sore for some time.

The pain and aching will gradually reduce over time as you do more and your body gets used to it but that hotspot is a sure sign that your footwear doesn't fit you properly.

A hotspot on your heel indicates that it's probably being caused by heel lift i.e. friction between your heel and the inside of your boot as your heel lifts when you take a stride. This could be helped by tying your footwear either tighter of differently to lock your heel into the back of the footwear to stop it lifting. Wearing an extra sock on the problem foot may help take up the extra room inside the boot to prevent the heel lifting.

This video might be worth a watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui3nC9k8YiQ and this one for tying your laces to lock your heel in place (although there are loads of others on YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbUAMPQDjyk

If you can't cure it yourself a visit to a specialist bootfitter such as Whalley Warm & Dry should help http://www.whalleyoutdoor.co.uk/boot-fitting-service/

 
« Last Edit: 09:21:34, 12/09/17 by kinkyboots »

pauldawes

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #3 on: 08:31:44, 12/09/17 »
I agree withKB, of course, that hotspots are nearly always down to misfitting footwear.


One good short term measure that will help before you change to different boots/walking shoes (or different lacing system) is to simply put some zinc oxide tape over the known hotspot area before starting walk.


In general terms...really good idea to try to build a walk into daily routine. If you're lucky enough to be close enough to walk into work, that's a good way to do it, for example. A daily 30/40 minute five/six times a week makes a big difference sooner than you think...and gradually "adjusts" your body for longer future walks.

Jac

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #4 on: 08:45:59, 12/09/17 »
To go from 10mins to 9 miles is a fantastic achievement O0

I'm not qualified to comment on possible medical problems/solutions but if you are really worried then a chat with your doctor who might recommend seeing a podiatrist.
It might not be the boots that don't fit perfectly but that as you get tired or if there is an uncomfotable medical problem you alter your gait later in the day and that is causing a hot spot to develop.

Anyway my main reason for responding is to dispel the myth that to enjoy and complete long trails you have to walk 20+ miles each and every day - you really don't. It just takes longer if you do shorter distances each day. More time to enjoy the scenery/nature/pubs/place of interest/doze in the sun etc. It just depends on distances between accommodation, so start by picking a trail with plenty such as a section of the SWCP or Thames path - and then before you know where you are you'll be backpacking and into the ultra-light equipment queries.

Good luck and enjoy :)
Most walks start by finding the way out of the car park

cmiddlebrook

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #5 on: 10:17:39, 12/09/17 »
Thank you all for the replies! I have some tape that I can try and I will also look at the footwear. Right now I only walk weekends, so I will also try to fit in some shorter walks during the week, thanks! :-)

Islandplodder

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #6 on: 14:57:38, 12/09/17 »

Little and often worked for me.  I told by the physiotherapist to go to the gym to build up the muscle round my slightly arthritic knees, rapidly lost the will to live in the gym, and discovered the one thing I could do that didn't hurt was walk, on reasonably even ground, for about 2 miles a day, which I did, rain or shine.  Incidently, It shed a few pounds, which probably helped the knees too.
I am now perfectly able to do long distance walks, climb hills, even do the odd 20 mile day if I have to.  But I would echo Jac's remark that you don't have to do 20 mile days for long distance walks; I have a friend who does one a year but looks horrified at the idea of walking more than 10 miles a day!  My comfort zone is now about the 14 to 16 mark, which took me up the Pennine Way. 
But I can remember when 9 miles would have been painful! 




cmiddlebrook

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #7 on: 15:04:43, 12/09/17 »
Little and often worked for me.  I discovered the one thing I could do that didn't hurt was walk, on reasonably even ground, for about 2 miles a day, which I did, rain or shine. I am now perfectly able to do long distance walks, climb hills, even do the odd 20 mile day if I have to.


So how did you go from doing the daily 2 mile walks to the now longer distance walks?

Islandplodder

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #8 on: 18:41:05, 12/09/17 »

It was about 10 years ago, and I am trying to remember.  I think it just started getting easier, and I found I could manage rough ground and up hill without my knees giving up.  I did gradually do longer walks, the point was that I did the 2 miles every day, whether I felt like it or not.  I got really good at knowing where 2 miles from the house was in every direction!
I had done a lot of walking when young, but had got out of the way of it.  It was when I got walked off my feet by my brother, 10 years older, retired and just back from Everest base camp I realised something had to be done!
I am fairly careful.  I use walking poles, don't leap over stiles or streams, and look after the elderly joints. 
I suppose it was just a case of gradually building up.

Mel

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #9 on: 18:47:54, 12/09/17 »
Your opening post could have been written by me! (with the exception of wanting to do multi day long distance walks!!)


I can only echo what others have said about "little and often" working for keeping your feet ready for longer walks.  I try to do a mile a day - even if it's a mundane walk round the block after work during the week (I do my short "pavement pounding" walks at a faster pace).  Sometimes, during the lighter nights I might do 2 or 3 miles local walking after work and and then a longer walk at the weekend.  I've (very) gradually built my weekend walks up to comfortably being able to do about 10 miles but I do these at a much slower, more leisurely pace.  I have noticed if I don't do my tiddly walks during the week, my weekend walks (or, rather. I) suffer.  You'll probably also find the little and often approach will help strengthen your back.


I also find walking to the local shops with my rucksack on (a handy bag for whatever you're buying), helps your body and your feet get used to carrying the extra weight of a rucksack as I did discover that I would struggle on my weekend walks (with rucksack) if I don't carry a bit of extra weight on my tiddly walks.


There's nothing in the walker's rulebook which says you have to do mega mileage day after day, nor do you have to do it at a fast pace or without stops.  I wholeheartedly echo what Jac says![/size]

[/size]
Something I do on my longer walks is "pretend" they're a series of short walks, linked together .... walk 4 miles, stop and have a leisurely break... walk another 4 miles (and another leisurely break)... and so on.  Shoes off and a good toe wriggle during the breaks helps air your footwear and feet out too.  If I was to do a long distance walk, I would adopt this approach...if you think about it, you'd be setting off at (say) 8am and walking all day.  At an average of 2mph that's a heck of a lot of miles to cover by (say) 5pm so I'd reduce the mileage slightly and incorporate lots of little rest stops every couple or 3 miles.  A couple of months ago I walked 11 miles without realising by doing exactly this (and felt like I could have walked further).  [/size]
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Islandplodder

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #10 on: 19:22:15, 12/09/17 »

I would really agree with Mel's point about having rests.  It's amazing how much difference it can make just sitting down and looking at the view for a bit.
Also taking your boots off, especially if you are getting achy feet.  Putting them in a stream for a minute or two is even better!

Swift and bold

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #11 on: 16:31:52, 31/10/17 »
Fantastic effort and it WILL get better, as I was in a similar situation as you were in and I have just completed The South Downs Way in 6 days, carrying 23kg pack.
There is alot of sound advice here so I wont repeat it but in addition  the thing that helped me was I remove any dead skin from my feet and make sure I kept them dry by using powder or just air my feet while having a tea stop.
Keep up the good work O0 O0

[Rgmw]largie

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #12 on: 23:25:17, 01/11/17 »
Hi


Don't know if its relavent to you but I found a big difference when walking with a mate was to "walk our own walk" and not try to keep up with each other. Trying to walk 12 miles with 11kg on our backs , at somebody else's pace didn't work at all well for us. :-)


Good luck !!!


Cheers


Dave
[Rgmw]largie




lostme1

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #13 on: 07:47:28, 02/11/17 »
It was about 10 years ago, and I am trying to remember.  I think it just started getting easier, and I found I could manage rough ground and up hill without my knees giving up.  I did gradually do longer walks, the point was that I did the 2 miles every day, whether I felt like it or not.  I got really good at knowing where 2 miles from the house was in every direction!
I had done a lot of walking when young, but had got out of the way of it.  It was when I got walked off my feet by my brother, 10 years older, retired and just back from Everest base camp I realised something had to be done!
I am fairly careful.  I use walking poles, don't leap over stiles or streams, and look after the elderly joints. 
I suppose it was just a case of gradually building up.

2 miles a day sounds a good idea. I've been looking for ideas to recover and get fitter and don't like the thought of a gym. Just need the will power to walk every day and not get distracted by other things.
These boots are made for walking.... so long as the rest of my body agrees

micmac

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Re: New walker seeking some advice
« Reply #14 on: 15:52:09, 02/11/17 »
It certainly does get easier the more you do and hopefully everything gets stronger. I started with just walking around the block, about 1 mile long, and i found it tiring even though i am fairly active as i have horses to do everyday. I started early September and a couple of weeks ago i managed 11 miles, only stopped because it was getting dark. I have an Achilles tendon injury so that can hurt somedays then i only do a short walk as i stop when the pain gets too much but it is slowing getting stronger.