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Laura 84km Walk Challenge

Laura’s 84km (52mile) Thames Path Challenge

I have been working at Body Logic Health for coming up to 3 years now and I have seen and helped staff, and clients through a variety of active challenges from couch to 5k, to desert ultra marathon events, all of which will be an accomplishment to the individual and a great positive achievement.

My reasons for working in this field are to help people feel those glorious moments of achievement and proudness and I feel the same for them too.

I often have entered a 5 or 10 km challenge myself but this year I really wanted a gritty challenge I could really train for to experience the pain, mental capacity and achieve something a little momentous.

In came the NEW route for 2016 84km Oxford to Henley on Thames, Thames path challenge. This sounded perfect, a double marathon, and my previous longest time on my feet being 10 km, I felt this would really challenge the physical and mental strength.

TRAINING
I designed myself a 12-week training programme, having already built up a base fitness of regular 5k runs to work and a regular gym strength routine. After just a few weeks I noticed the increased walking, just 3 or 5 miles and walking instead of the bus / train made a huge impact. I felt my legs were working harder in turn making my running stronger. Couple with some key strength exercises my flexibility has improved in my hamstrings (can now touch floor!) with work continuing to improve flexibility of my hips.

The walking soon increased to 14 miles in which I decided to jog some of. I was pleased with my cardio fitness however it highlighted the nutritional elements and slight aches and pains started to appear where I may need to focus attention on.

Over the last two weekends I have felt proud to achieve 42 miles over two days with a break in between. 1 x 18 mile and 1 x 25 mile. Weekend 1 was in hotter weather with more running on the 25 miler and was exhausting. This weekend I managed to run more of my 18 mile race achieving 18 miles in under 4hours, 5m/hour and I felt good. This was followed a day later with a 25 mile walk and for the first time I have suffered issues with restless leg syndrome at night and generally dead legs. To recover I have found the value in stretching, rolling, baths and nutrition.

INJURIES
My colleagues at Body Logic Health have been great. I have had a biomechanical analysis of my running style in which we discovered I was landing with bad pronation in both feet with slightly more on the left. This was linking to the pain I was feeling after a lot of walking or running on the inside of my foot on the navicular bone. Strategies included, taping, pronation control exercises, retraining walking and running, glut medius work – important in controlling hip and knee weaknesses. Although this seems like a substantial list it really doesn’t take long to fit in those few exercises and continue to think about your movements whilst exercising and moving throughout the day. My foot pain has greatly improved and this weekend for my final long walks, I walked without foot strapping and have no symptoms today (the day after 25 miles).
On the day I will take some strapping, as at half way I may need all the support for my foot that I can get and I now know that it will help to stabilise the weakness present in the foot once I am fatigued.

I feel ready and excited to begin my challenge of walk / jogging 52 miles, starting Saturday 10th September at 9am. All in aid of Alzheimer’s Society, which is a cause close to my family’s heart. The training on my own has helped in reflecting on memories, and clearing the mind quite fitting for such a charity.