Cause Walking: How to Protect Your Feet Before, During and After the Event
During the Walk
You’re trained, conditioned and ready to go! Just remember a few things that will help you stay enthusiastic and energetic once you get on your way:
First and foremost, stay hydrated. How much should you drink? In a position statement issued in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine in 2006 (http://www.aimsworldrunning.com/articles/IMMDA_Updated_Fluid_Recommendation.pdf), the International Marathon Medical Directors Association recommended, as the most effective means of ensuring proper hydration in varying conditions, that runners and walkers in marathon races drink whenever they are thirsty. But don’t wait too long or ignore your thirst – drink whenever your body tells you that you need fluids. Since water is heavy, you probably won’t be able to carry much with you. Take advantage of rest stops to hydrate yourself along the way.
Carry snacks with you if you’re walking for more than an hour. Energy bars (which typically combine carbohydrates, protein, and fat) are easy to carry and eat, as is trail mix. Other good snack foods include apples, raisins, bananas and oranges. Experiment with different snacks and meals during your training period to see what works best for you.
Always use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 on all exposed areas of your body. The sun’s rays are most powerful between about 10 AM and 4 PM, so plan accordingly. Reapply sunscreen regularly if you sweat. Shield your face and head from the sun with a cap or hat. Sunglasses with UV protection can help protect your eyes.
If it’s raining, consider wearing a light hooded jacket and rain pants to stay dry.
Carry rain gear, water, sunscreen, a small first aid kit and snacks in a small day pack or waist pack. Don’t overload the pack; try to keep the weight to no more than about five pounds.
Stop walking if something happens that causes pain. For example, if you suddenly develop very bad cramping so severe you can’t put your foot down, or every time your heel hits the ground you’re experiencing pain, not only in your heel but your ankle and your leg, then it’s time to say, “let’s put a stop to this." Rest, drink some fluids and massage a cramp, if that’s what’s stopping you. After about 15 minutes or so, try to walk at a normal pace.
Don’t try to be heroic; you’re not proving anything by trying to walk through the pain. When you’re walking for a cause, the people who support you won’t care if you don’t complete the entire walk. They support you because they feel you’re doing something worthwhile.