Walk faster!

Yesterday, I was compelled to walk 4.7 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes. That’s pretty fast.

I  recorded the hike on a map listed via Strava.  I didn’t want to trudge through the woods due to mud, wet, and the possibility of peeling tics off my body in the newly sprouted grasses.  So, I just walked out the door and moved  for a bit over an hour on the pavement.  It really felt great.  I had missed real exercise for a couple of days and was compelled- actually ejected out the door, as my body craved The Pump.  I improved my time by almost 10 minutes over a previous walk on the same route.  How?

This is the time of year when I like to read about hikers starting and hiking the long distance trails- AT, PCT, CDT . Hikers issue blister reports, and request and advise each other on what the best footwear is to wear on these hikes.  They have it all wrong.  It’s not about the actual footwear, you can buy excellent insoles that can take up the slack on the bottom.  For sure, most hikers’ blister issues are due to wearing runners or boots that aren’t big enough, but no one likes to hear that, especially women.

Any potential thru hiker needs to visit the best sports podiatrist they can find and have their gait evaluated.  Most foot problems arise due to biomechanical abnormalities that are associated with whacky gait issues.  Along with the podiatrist, potential hikers are advised to read Sherry Brourman’s Walk Yourself Well.   The book is the next step in resolving any biomechanical deficiencies.

I am now able to walk faster and with no blisters on my hikes after altering the screwed up gait that my podiatrist verified. I followed Brourman’s specific recommendations for my particular gait flaws.  In my case, I had to re-learn to walk with a slightly wider and slightly longer gait, while favoring the placement of my heel strike toward the inside of the heel.  It took me months of practice, starting with one of those the corrections and adding the other two.  It works! It is now automatic.

I’m definitely faster, even without moving my legs any quicker.  The slight two inch increase in my gait adds up over the course of a day, resulting in more miles, in feet that are not as battered up as they used to be.

So forgo the footwear obsession-  consider averting the problem before it comes.

About Tom Jamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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