OXFAM TRAILWALKER X SPORTS PODIATRISTS
SYDNEY OXFAM TRAILWALKER is a challenging 100km or 50km course starting from the Hawkesbury, negating through picturesque National Park trails and finishing in /or under 48 hours over looking Sydney Harbour, in front of an adoring croud of friends, family, volenteers and supporters.
For those that are new to trailwalker, it is an extraordinary event, with last year teams raising more than $2.2 mil for OXFAM AUSTRALIA. This fundraising allows OXFAM to carry out vital work around the world, including in Australia, promoting education, ensuring access to clean water, preventing the spread of deadly diseases, teaching skills to grow food and fighting for rights. It is a journey that will change your life, and the lives of others, forever.
We have been proudly supporting OXFAM TRAILWALKER SYDNEY since 2009 in which time we have trailed and tested our strategies for blister prevention. One of our Podiatrists Trent Salkavich has competed the Sydney Trailwalker twice since pulling out at check point 3 the year prior doubled over with gastro, giving us first hand experience of the event in all its glory! Each year we run blister prevention 101 nights and through education aim to provide every participant with essential knowledge and strategies to prevent (and manage) blisters, as blisters are the number one reason for participants to retire from the event. So here are our top tips for getting through without losing your nails or suffering the full force of footwear friction!
OUR TOP TIPS FOR FOOT PREPARATION AND CARE:
Prepare with (at least) two pairs of good, appropriate shoes. One pair a running shoe style, the other a walking / trail shoe or boot. These shoes should feel very comfortable when you try them on to buy, fitting well around your feet and ankles with a thumbs width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Take your socks with you, or buy socks with the shoes. Go to a reputable shoe store where they will spend time with you to choose the best shoe for your needs. Try these great shoe stores Running and trail running shoes: http://www.paceathletic.com.au http://www.paddypallin.com.au
Prepare with suitable, moisture-wicking socks (multiple pairs). Trail different types of socks and combination of socks. A good moisture-wicking, cushioned, anatomically designed pair of socks will cost approx $20-35. Ensure that the sock is a synthetic/cotton or synthetic/wool blend sock. A great sock to prevent blisters between the toes are the Injini socks which are like a glove for the foot. It is a great sock to use as an under sock if you are double-socking. Try these great brands of socks which can be bought from most good shoe stores or online. Nike Dri-fit, Thorlos, Injinji and Ice Breaker.
Prepare your body with strength and endurance training. You couldn't expect your body to handle a marathon without training, trailwalker is no different. It is important to increase your muscle strength and endurance in your feet and legs slowly, increasing your accumulative distance weekly by 10-20%. That is, start at walking a comfortable distance say 10km, with 2 other walks during the same week at 5km each. The following week you should walk 12km on the weekend and 2 other walks during the week of 6km, an overall increase of 4km. As this is an endurance event, always start with a comfortable pace and work primarily on increasing your distance. As you are getting comfortable with longer distances you can start to add in pace walks to your training regime. That is, during one of your shorter walks during the week you can walk 10-20% faster than your “distance” pace. The following week you can keep the distance the same as the previous and increase the pace by a further 10-20%. The golden rule? Work on your distance, or your pace, but not both at the same time. Alternatively, if you aren’t conditioned to hilly conditions, then start on a relatively flat ground with minimal undulation for your longer walks. In your shorter walks during the week start to incorporate hills or stairs into your training, eventually combining both distance and elevation.
Don’t have time for long walks this week? Hit the gym or studio with specific strengthening exercises, cardio, functional exercises, Pilates or a stretching class.
Prepare your feet! It is more than 125,000 steps for the average person to walk 100km. Get out on the track as well as build your training into your daily life. Walking to-from work, getting off the train a few stops before you normally would, getting out at lunch time, spend as much time as possible walking to-from places, to build your training into your daily life and when possible, to be wearing your walking shoes. In addition, here are the housekeeping rules for your feet:
Trim and file your toenails regularly, especially trimming them short 1 week before the event. If you have any ingrown or thickened nails, see a Podiatrist for management.
Routinely see a Podiatrist if you have any corns or callouses and time your treatments to be 1 week before the event
We have trailed and tested our unique taping technique with hundreds of OXFAM participants over the last 10 years. A basic video (recorded in 2010) is attached below however it is best to attend a blister prevention information night to see first hand how to apply the strapping. We now also recommend taping your toes with hyperfix, which is not shown in this video.
If you experience any hot spot or friction areas, video 2 shows how to apply donut padding for early offloading and management.