Sunday, 26 January 2014

Please Support Me

As much as I love my adorable (most of the time) little Miniature Schnauzers sometimes I just wish they were dogs I could take on training walks with me!
I often see Karen Lawrie out walking with her dog, they walk miles together. Janice Quirk is another who trains with her canine companion. All my two want to do is sniff and pee! This makes time management so much more difficult - rush home from work, walk dogs, get home and change into training gear, go for a training walk, get home, shower, get dressed, feed dogs and me, take dogs for a quick walk around the block and bed. This is a typical day for me. Weekends are slightly more relaxed :)

Luckily I have fantastic support for the Parish Walk and I am looked after all day as well as not having to worry about my dogs. Support is an incredibly important part of the Parish Walk and without it I wouldn't be able to complete the full 85 miles.

The first year I decided to do the Parish Brian was soaking up as much information as he could possibly get on how best to get me to the end. One of the things that we soon learnt was very true is that after I reached somewhere around Andreas I would no longer be able to make decisions regarding food, drink and clothing as my brain would be as tired as my feet. This was so true as when I was handed a cup of coffee I immediately dropped it as it burnt my hands. It was at this point that Brian realised just how cold I was because the coffee was only just lukewarm! He made me put on another jacket and change my gloves and hat. It sounds a bit extreme but I honestly had no idea I was freezing cold and wet.

It was a bit of trial and error trying to decide exactly how far ahead Brian would park. The further into the walk I got the shorter the distance ahead he stopped. That seemed to work very well for me.
My tip of the day - If you can make it, take the time to go to the Parish Walk Talk on 25th February. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Shoes and Clothes

Last Sunday I headed out to Glen Mona again and walked to Lezayre church through Ramsey and back through Maughold, up Ballajora and back to Glen Mona. I heard the weather forecast before I left but decided that I still needed to go out. 
This is not me!
But a good representation of
how I must have looked!
The forecast stated rain in the afternoon and a gale force South Westerly wind. The forecast didn't lie. Going up towards Maughold church I must have been walking at a 45 degree angle to the road just to keep going forward. Despite gloves my hands were freezing. BUT.... the good news is I made it back to my car before I got hypothermia - probably a bit melodramatic, but once I got home it took my hands a good hour wrapped around a cup of coffee and in front of a heater before the feeling returned 100%.
Did I enjoy the walk? Yes, I enjoyed most of it but I was very happy to get back to the car, almost like getting to the war memorial after walking 85 miles!
Now to the title of the post - Shoes and Clothes - 
As I've mentioned before a gait analysis is a good idea before choosing shoes to walk 85 miles in. Shoes are possibly the most expensive part of the sport but definitely well worth the investment. A gait analysis will tell you if you have a neutral pronation (your foot rolls inward a small percentage and you push off evenly from the front of the foot), overpronation (your foot rolls inward a larger percentage and you push off mainly using the big toe and second toe) or underpronation (your foot rolls outward and you push off mainly using the smaller toes). Shoes can correct any over or under pronation that you may have.
When dressing for the Parish Walk remember that you're going to be walking in the same clothes for a long time so they need to be comfortable. Wearing brand new underwear isn't the best idea. A friend of mine was given new underwear for the "big day" - unfortunately this wasn't such a good present as they created a rash and an uncomfortable walk.

Be prepared for all types of weather. Layering is the best way to dress. The start could be a bit chilly or even wet but once you get going you should start to warm up. If you're planning to go to the end it will definitely get colder once the sun goes down so pack a warm jacket to wear later on. I always put a spare pair of socks and shoes in the car - just in case.

My Tip of the Day - If you plan to go any further than Peel make sure you have good support and talk to your support before the day, planning what you need when you need it.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Weather to walk (or not)

In my last post I had a comment from Karen, my sister in Australia saying - 

"I've been looking at the photos of the king tides on the IOM - you have to be dedicated (or crazy?) to walk in that kind of weather :)"
Taken from Karen's car in Oz on Jan 4 2014
Are we dedicated or crazy? Probably a bit of both, but if we didn't get out there in Manx weather then we'd end up spending half our days waiting for good weather. We can't be fair-weather walkers over here. However - I have to ask the question

           "How on earth do you play tennis in 45°C?"

This week I haven't been out walking at all but I haven't just been doing nothing. I decided to get out my Insanity DVDs and do a bit of shaping up. I have been told that doing Insanity is doing nothing for my walking but I disagree. The program increases overall fitness and flexibility so surely that has to be some help. I will find out today when I take to the road again for 15 miles.

During the buildup to Parish Walk 2012 I looked out for any related events and attended all of them. 

The Parish Walk Talk - a great forum led by all the people in the know - judges, coaches, organisers and previous winners. Not only do they give you as much information as they possibly can and any hints and tips on how to get as far as you possibly can, they also answer any questions you may have about training, food, drink, preparing feet, what to take with you on the day etc.

The Foot Health Clinic Talk held at Up and Running - A talk by Robin from The Foot Health Clinic about how best to avoid blisters, muscle strain and injuries during training and during the walk.

Parish Walk training - held by Chris Cale from Up and Running during the training weeks prior to the Parish Walk. Excellent tips on how best to handle the up hills and down hills of the Parish as well as general race walking and endurance walking training.

I think I drove people crazy with all my questions but nobody complained and I got tons of information - some of which I used and still do and some which wasn't for me. 

My tip of the day - make sure the shoes you have are correct for your feet, nothing will stop your progress quicker that sore feet!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2014!

The weather on Tuesday 31st December was not kind to me. I was determined to complete my 100 miles come rain, hail or snow, less of the complaining - the good news is I did it plus a bonus 4.7 miles for good measure!

Today was the Up and Running Winter Walking League at Ronaldsway. The first race of the new year and a good turnout. I think most people have their favourite races and their pet "dislikes". Ronaldsway is one of my dislikes. I think it stems back to when I was living in Ramsey and had to get up with the early birds to get to the start on time for registration. I was freezing and tired and I nearly missed the start of the race because I was sitting in my car drinking coffee. To top it all I left my Garmin in the car so had no idea of the speed or distance I had done. So really it has absolutely nothing to do with the place, more the memories!

In preparation for Parish Walk 2014 we cannot forget 

Drink and Supplements

Obviously water is important to anyone partaking in exercise, the body needs to be hydrated, but salts and minerals also need to be replaced. This is where supplements come in. 

When shopping for supplements I am far from an expert. I ask around to see what others have tried and what worked and what didn't. My personal favourites are Shot Bloks and Energy Gels, both need to be taken and then followed by water. As an additive to water Zero tablets are good for replacing electrolytes and magnesium

As it is now only 166 days to go (who's counting?!) it's time to start planning a training schedule. My main plan is to lose a bit of weight, get fitter, stay injury free (lots of stretching involved there) and most importantly - enjoy the training.

My tip of the day - ask around for help regarding any aspect of training or preparing for the walk that you are unsure of.