Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hydration & the Importance of Socks

If you didn't know by the scorching temperatures, its SUMMER!
I actually walked 4 miles tonight in 90 degree heat. It wasn't too bad. The most important thing you can do before braving the heat is to make sure you are hydrated. Drink water, and drink more water. Filling your water bottle with ice and put it in the freezer approx. 2 hours before a walk, this helps to keep the water cold and keep you cool during the walk. If your walking and you can feel your fingers swelling and getting tight, you are not hydrated. For more tips on proper hydration, check out Leanne the Walkers two posts: Dehydration Disaster & The Importance of Hydration. Also, check out 60 Miles post on the Heat!

Bottom line, keep yourself hydrated!

Now, socks. You want to make an investment here, trust me. Those cotton socks you may have are not going to be your friend. When your feet get hot, they start to sweat and without proper socks that absorb the sweat, next thing you know you have hot spots, that turn into blisters. These are not fun, and even when you have the most expensive, and best rated socks there are, if you don't change your socks enough, odds are you will develop blisters. There is a great slide show on how to prevent blisters and treat them on the 3-Day website. (don't let the pictures scare you!)

In 2008, the first year I walked, I changed my socks 3 to 4 times a day. I covered my feet with Vaseline or body glide (helps with the friction between foot-sock-shoe) each time, and I never had one blister. I was not so lucky in 2010. I changed my socks several times, made sure my feet were "lubricated" but I didn't listen to my feet on day 1. At the end of day one, I pulled my final pair of socks off and saw several hot spots. I knew they were there, but I wasn't listening. This could easily been fixed by applying band-aids or moleskin to protect those areas. I hobbled through the end of day 2, spent a good bit of time having a podiatrist pop my blisters, and by the end of day 3, I walked the last 5 miles in flip flops. If you don't want your feet to look like mine, be sure you invest in good socks, change them frequently, and make sure you use Vaseline and/or Body Glide. And guess what Atlanta Walkers? You have 21 weeks to find the right socks and what works for you!

I wear Balega International socks. Must running stores carry them (If you in Atlanta, check Big Peach or Phidippides.) These socks give me the perfect amount of padding/support on the bottom and ventilation at the top. I have never tried another sock that I liked as well as the Balega. Most are too thick for me. When you are fitted for your shoes, get a recommendation for a good sock, buy a pair and try them out. This is how I discovered my love for Balegas! Many of my walking buddies like Thorlos. Its up to you, but find out this summer during your training walks what you prefer. Please, please and please, do not wear a 100% cotton sock. You will hate yourself, I guarantee.
One more thing... stay away from the pedicures this summer! It may sound gross, but you need calluses that you build up during training. Try to take care of your feet and make sure that your heels don't crack by soaking them in Epsom salts and moisturized with foot lotion.  I personally prefer peppermint foot lotion after a long walk and a salt soak.

Remember, hydrate and invest in good socks!

1 comment:

  1. Balega socks are seriously amazing. A runner friend gave me a couple pairs for my birthday and I am IN LOVE. I was also gifted some of that peppermint lotion a few years back for cat sitting for some friends and I love it so much that I gave a tube of it to each of my teammates at the Boston 3 Day last year.

    So basically, I second your endorsements!

    ~ Kristen