There’s so much to talk about this week, I hardly know where to begin!
Let me start with the 10k Nordic walking challenges that so many of you have signed up to (or are on the cusp of…). Both the Bristol 10k and the British Nordic Walking 10k Challenge Event take place on 15 May – in twelve week’s time. Signing up for a challenge like this is a great way to give yourself a goal to aim for. It is also a good way to ensure that fitness stays at the centre of your busy schedule. To help keep you on track and motivated I have written a twelve week training schedule. It’s on our website under the ‘Our walks’ section –
Mud causing problems for our Exel poles with the flick-back paws (All Terrain tips)
Several of you have come to me with an annoying problem with your poles. The paw at the base of the pole has started to ‘knock’ against the pole shaft each time you plant the pole, making it feel as though the pole is vibrating. This is happening even though the poles are, in some cases, quite new.
The problem, I’m afraid, is the mud. We have experienced exceptionally mucky conditions this year and the mud gets stuck to the bottom of our poles. Unless you clean this off after each walk (hands up if you do), it dries on the pole. As the mud dries, it expands and weakens the hinge mechanism opening and closing the paw. Eventually the paw become slack and knocks against the pole shaft causing vibration. If this is happening to you – or if you are keen to ensure that it doesn’t happen to your poles:
- Check out the blog I wrote last year on how to look after your Nordic walking poles; and
- Watch the short video clip I’ve recorded showing you how to remove, tighten and re-hinge your All Terrain tips. Incidentally, I recorded this at my home and, on watching it, was amused to see other members of my household making a guest appearance – see if you can spot them.
How to keep your walking boots in top condition and, most importantly, WATERPROOF
I hate getting wet feet whilst walking. It spoils a walk for me. I therefore care a great deal about ensuring that my walking boots (or shoes) remain waterproof. Now I’m not the most diligent exponent of boot maintenance but – needs must – and I’ve surprised myself at the frequency with which I roll up my sleeves and get my shoe cleaning kit out. I wouldn’t profess to be an expert on boot maintenance though so I thought, before I tell you what I do, I’d direct you to the article that Mountain Warehouse have written on ‘How to Clean Hiking Boots or Shoes’. It’s short – and helpful.
So, onto my boot maintenance routine. At this time of the year I’m mostly in walking boots. As many of you will know I love my Scarpa Terra boots. They are all leather and have a flexible sole. I know many of you also have them and love yours (almost) as much as I love mine. This is what I do:
- Hose off the mud from my boots after each walk if it’s been a muddy one.
- Leave my boots to dry (I leave mine near my Aga which works brilliantly).
- Once every couple of weeks, post points 1 and 2 above, brush off any mud still dried onto my boots using a dedicated washing-up brush.
- Loosen my laces. I can’t remove my laces entirely as they have become distorted at the end. I know that, once removed, I wouldn’t be able to re-thread them again.
- Apply brown shoe polish. For no other reason than it gives my boots a nice rich brown colour. So pure vanity really (if one can apply that term to one’s boots).
- Apply Scarpa’s own brand waterproofing cream. It looks a bit like Vaseline squeezed out of a tube but it works brilliantly. Even though I have cracks and creases in my boots, the water never penetrates. I rub the silicone cream in with a soft cloth.
- Sit back and admire my work.
If you have fabric boots/shoes then you will most likely be using a fabric spray or something similar. The best known brand is probably Nikwax but many of you (and Ellis Brigham on Whiteladies Road) prefer Granger’s footwear repellant. Some of the bigger stores have their own brands. It’s probably a case of trying something and seeing how you get on with it.
The ‘Ws’ postural exercise
This week I’ve been including one of my favourite postural exercises in my classes. I call it the ‘Ws’ (for obvious reasons). It’s fantastic for posture – waking up the difficult mid-back area and also opening out the chest. I promised I would do a short video clip to demo it and this is attached. In brief, here’s what to do:
Stand with good (but relaxed) posture, with your feet slightly apart. Form a ‘W’ shape with your arms, elbows bent and hands about head height. Your aim is to squeeze your shoulder blades down and together by trying to squeeze your elbows behind you. Do this every time you switch the kettle on, ten repetitions.
And finally…Next week a group of us are off to Finland to try our hand at Nordic skiing. More about this in my next blog – but watch our Facebook page for updates on how we’re getting on.