Let me explain why I decided the first and possibly most important hint was to stretch.
I was in a hurry last Saturday to get to the vet before they closed and wanted to incorporate the trip into a training walk. It was a cold day but I rushed out the door without any warm up or stretching. By the time I was 6 miles from home my hamstrings were screaming at me to stop. The shortest distance from home was 1.5 miles so I broke into a slow jog and took the pressure off my hamstrings. This was a serious lesson in not race-walking on cold muscles!
I have taken the first step in my Parish Walk 2014 journey ... I have entered, having stayed up until midnight I was in the top 10 to enter - is this a sign of things to come? Who knows - only time will tell.
Winter is always a difficult time for me to continue my training. I leave home for work in the dark and I arrive back home in the dark as I'm sure most people do. It's just so easy to get home and cuddle up with a blanket in front of the telly. So I decided to set myself a December challenge - to walk at least 100 miles during the month. So far, so good. Although I nearly had a collision on Wednesday night with a cyclist coming around a corner with no lights and no high viz clothing.
I have been asking friends with various commitments (work, exercise-phobic spouse, children, pets, elderly parents etc.) how they manage to fit their training into their busy schedules and the common answer seems to be - whenever there is a spare hour in the day they use it to get out and walk. Initially it may feel like taking away relaxation time but it actually aids the relaxation - you get to have time all to yourself, just you and the road.
Last year's Parish Walk had almost equal men / women entries. Can the ladies outnumber the gents in 2014? Let's show them girls - get your entry in, get you walking shoes on and get out there training. I personally believe that the atmosphere and support around the island on the day is amazing.
My hint and tip of the day - invest in some good high visibility clothing, especially in the winter months. Be seen!