Monday, 14 January 2013

The Difficult Second Post

Evening all! First, here's a stats update (courtesy of Suunto's handy website):

Distance (miles)
Time (hh:mm)
Energy (kcals)
Since last post (7 Jan 2013) 15.5 04:39 2976
Since records began (27 Dec 2012) 43.9 13:03 8666

I've stuck to my target of walking to/from work each day, come rain or snow. My pace has been quite consistent, although not especially quick: I cover the mile to work (mostly downhill) in about 18-20 mins and the mile back (mostly uphill) in about 20-22 mins. Most of the variation reflects whether the traffic lights on the main road are in my favour or not. Tonight I took nearly 25 mins, as it had snowed quite heavily during the day and I was trying my best to avoid involuntary skating practice! I expect tomorrow may be a similar story. The weather has taken a turn for the worse: it was unseasonably mild from Christmas until last Friday, but the forecast now shows sub-zero temperatures continuing at least until next Monday. Nevertheless, I'm determined to keep to my routine so that it gets ingrained as a habit.

I took one longer walk yesterday with Mrs W, but unfortunately I didn't summon up the energy to get out on a weekday evening last week as I'd planned. It felt much easier to put in longer sessions when I was on holiday over Christmas: it seems that work, like golf, can get in the way of a good walk! I'm fairly optimistic about getting back on track this week.

Blisters: to pop or not to pop?

I was careful not to go out all guns blazing with my new shoes, but I've still managed to acquire blisters on the inside edges of both heels. I understand that this is not an uncommon complaint for overpronators, and is especially common immediately after moving to shoes with stronger motion control. In a way I'm glad blisters have come up as an issue sooner rather than later so that I can work out how best to prevent and treat them before I move on to longer walks.

I've seen conflicting advice on whether or not to drain blisters. The NHS advises against it in most circumstances and never without medical supervision. I suspect that the NHS' advice may be excessively cautious to avoid being sued back into the stone age by some numpty who pops a blister with a rusty nail and cries foul when their foot falls off. The Mayo Clinic is less squeamish about advising visitors how to drain a blister safely, although it still generally advises against draining unless you have to.

So far, my blisters aren't causing any pain, so I've covered them with Compeed plasters from my friendly local chemist. My instinct is to drain them (using a sterile needle) only if they get painful or continue to swell.

To the experienced Parish Walkers out there: how did you deal with blisters during training? Also, what works best for you in preventing blisters?

A trip to The Frozen North

All being well, next week's blog will come from Vilnius in Lithuania, where the forecast predicts temperatures of -10 to -16 C. My work often takes me out and about around Central and Eastern Europe, so this will be a good test of my ability to keep up some kind of training regime despite the inevitable disruptions that travel causes.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading and have a good week!


  1. I must admit, I drain and cover blisters. The blister is there for a purpose. The pain reminds you there is damage and the fluid aids healing. However, i know there is damage - so don't need the discomfort - and I tend to apply a small dollop of savlon/anti-septic cream before covering. As for prevention, I actually cover my heels with duck-tape which works brilliantly for me but probably isn't for everyone. Good socks are a must. Lots of people like twin-skin socks (myself included) but, for wearing in new shoes I tend to wear some thick, heavily padded Thurlo's. Also, before heading out, try a blob of vaseline on any areas that you know are rubbing.

    The best way to prevent blisters, though, is to build up a good base-mileage over the next few months. The more miles in the legs and the more hours on your feet the tougher they get.

  2. Thanks for the advice, James!

    Totally agree with you regarding good socks. I picked up a pair of Hilly Twin Skin socks from Up And Running when I got my shoes, which I've used on my longer excursions: will try out a few other types to see which suit me best. I also have some thick 1000 Mile socks from a trek I did back in 2005 that I might dig out if the weather stays this cold.

    I got a tub of vaseline when I bought the Compeeds, so I'll definitely use that as a preventative measure once the existing blisters heal. I'll reserve taping my heels as a 'nuclear option' in case that fails!

  3. Hi David,Hilly Mono are my favourite. I began by wearing vaseline on my feet but stopped because I felt that my foot was moving excessively in my shoe due to vaseline and ended up causing blisters.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation, Michael. I'll seek out some Hilly Mono socks to try.

    Interesting that you found that using vaseline caused blisters. I've read that elsewhere, too. Evidently there's no 'one size fits all' approach: I'll give it a go.