It is that time of year again for thousands of Melbournians taking on the treacherous goal of completing the annual Oxfam Trailwalker. The Oxfam Trailwalker is a wonderful event which fundraises to help promote education, ensuring access to clean water, teaching the necessary skills to grow and cook food and to stand up and fight for their rights.
This year, Oxfam has introduced a 50km goal as an alternative to the traditional 100kms. This is still more than five times the daily recommended goal of steps, so protecting and strengthening your feet is crucial during the training in the lead up to the event.
To get started, here are some things to consider to get the most out of your training and race prep…
First, you must ascertain your training regimen. Discuss with your teammates a training schedule leading up to the event. How many kms are you going to do each week? What kind of surfaces will you train on? Which tracks will you walk? These should be increased gradually each week while trialling different socks, shoes and blister prevention taping to see what works best for you.
Shoes… What shoes do you have and how worn in are they? During the event most people will need at least 2-3 pairs of shoes to carry you throughout the event as this will help change up pressure points on your feet and reduce the occurrence of blisters and sore spots. Speak to your local Active Feet or Athlete’s Foot store regarding trail shoes and tech walkers (light hike boots)… or bring in your shoes and our team of Podiatrists will assess the effectiveness of the footwear choice for such an event.
Blister prevention… Blisters are caused by two things: pressure and moisture. Socks prevent moisture by wicking away sweat and regulating temperature. I recommend a minimum of six pairs of socks for the 100km walk (to rotate every 15-20kms). Check out my sock blog about different types of socks and what you should be looking for in a sock. Pressure will be a reaction to the ground shearing forces as well as the shoes that you wear. If you have high areas of pressure points, use a hypoallergenic tape such as fixomull tape to create a barrier between the shoe and your feet.
Keep in mind that everyone is different, so if you have any pre-existing concerns throughout the training phase, speak to your appropriate health practitioner who will be able to guide you through this arduous, but extremely rewarding event.
Written by Jasmine Kouch, Podiatrist