Much like training for a marathon, you would never hike a mountain in brand new shoes. You have to break them in first.
So in anticipation of our upcoming Mount Kilimanjaro climb, I’ve replaced my beautiful Nikes for some heavy, grey hiking boots. I miss those pink beauties. It seems that hiking boots only come in grey, black or brown. No neon pink here. They’re also bulky and cumbersome. In fact, I was so sure that I had bought the wrong size, I tried to return them. They felt big and weird and they rubbed my ankles. Surely, this can’t be how they are supposed to feel! The salesperson at Mountain Warehouse kindly informed me that they are supposed to feel different than running shoes. They’re hiking boots. Right.
Training for a mountain climb means lots of walking. And now that I’ve come to terms with the general ugliness of the boots, we have started to log a lot of kilometres on them.
The first major hike was the Seven Sisters Country Park, a beautiful expanse of chalk cliffs spanning 23 kilometers. We hiked all seven sisters and I’m pleased to report that my feet felt perfectly happy the whole way. We’re off to a good start.
I started to wonder though, could all this walking help my running? Would all this walking make me a slower, more lethargic runner? A few quick Google searches gave some encouraging answers.
Walking for 30-60 minutes continuously can be an effective way to cross train without putting strain on your running muscles. In fact, walking can actually be a brilliant recovery tool. The stiffness that follows a long run can often be deterred by a long walk. Walking will help get your blood pumping around your legs which actually helps repair any micro muscle tears caused by running.
Long walks can also help increase overall endurance. While walking takes longer, it does help promote the same endurance in your feet and legs as running, only without the same injury risk. Some studies I read actually said that adding regular long walks into your running routine can help keep you running long into old age!
This is all great news since a few weeks after our Kili climb, we are headed right into training for a September half marathon! I’m looking forward to reaping the benefits of all this walking, even if I do have to do it in ugly boots.