I am now well and truly back.
Just been from Ramsey to Maughold church, up Ballajora and back to Ramsey along the coast road. A total of 9 miles in 1:43. I enjoyed every minute (well maybe not EVERY - I still have a small issue with Ballajora!), but it felt great to be back on the road after 3 weeks break.
While I was walking today I was really thinking about how I was getting from A to B. This may sound a little strange but race walking and endurance walking is not all about putting one foot in front of the other. Every part of the body gets involved.
The mind - a major part of endurance walking. Determination and planning can get you the extra distance when you think your legs won't. It also helps me to let my mind wander sometimes to take me away from the constant pounding of the road. Try not to dwell on how tired you feel or how much pain you may be in at the time. Think of how good you'll feel when you get to your destination.
Head - try not to drop your head, keep looking ahead of you and not at your shoes.
Shoulders - keep them relaxed, there should be no reason to have them hunched up and getting achy and sore.
Back - keep it as straight as possible, this goes together with the head. Keep looking ahead and keep your back straight.
Arms - your arms can help you more than you think. Keeping your arms bent at around 90 degrees at waist height pushing back will keep your legs going. Instead of concentrating on how tired your legs are start concentrating on pushing yourself forward using your arms.
Hands - don't make a tight fist as you pump your arms, just keep your fingers slightly bent and nicely relaxed.
Legs - yes they do work hard but help them as much as you can with the rest of the body.
Feet - make sure you prepare your feet well before you go out walking. They are after all going to get you to the end of the walk!