Many of you have been complaining that your rubber boot tips are wearing our fast. There are two reasons for this to happen. First, the hot weather makes the boots wear out faster. Second, your technique makes the boots wear out faster.
Let’s try to fix this accelerated boot wear…
WALKING SURFACE: change up your routine and explore some soft surfaces like dirt, chip trails, hard sand of a low tide beach like Willows Beach. On these surfaces you take off your rubber boot tips and use the point end only. (BTW, google tide tables for Willows Beach Victoria BC to find out when the tide will be out!)
TECHNIQUE: When we teach you to pole walk we ask you to drag the poles to make it easier to learn at the beginning. At the end of the 3-Week Tech course you have built up enough technique, have the basics engrained, your fitness is building….the result is you are travelling faster. At this point the pole tip will automatically lift off at the back and gracefully swing forward all on its own. Just before you start the next push back the tip seems to bump and then plant or drag a very short distance, and then plant.
If you are a beginner the pole tip is dragging the whole way. If you are a intermediate walker, the pole tip drags just before it plants. It is these two cases where the rubber is wearing.
For the beginner I would encourage you to keep walking and focus on Step 7 (Propel). It is critical that you learn to swing your upper arm behind your side seam, because this is where you build up your back posture muscles and gradually your fitness improves, you go faster, and the tip lifts off most of the time.
For the intermediate walker who is fitter and going faster, and the pole tip is lifting off most of the way, then you can add onto your technique. If I was with you I would teach you the following:
STEP 8: Plant that pole! (“The Power Gear”)
As your arm is swinging forward, and just before your arm swing meets the “toddler”, close your fingers momentarily around the handle and have a firm grip. Instead of letting the tip bite in, definitely “plant” the tip, and then push the pole/pendulum back.
The moment your hand swings by your hip, relax your hand and push the pole all the way to the back.
This might need some coordination skills for you. Start doing this with your dominant hand. Later incorporate the other hand.
This firmer plant and push will increase your speed! Yeah! The harder you push backwards the more your poles propel you forward. Your strides want to become a little longer. Keep your stride length the same, just make them go faster! Flow with it!
KEEPING ALL THE PARTS WORKING!!!
Pole Walking on one hand is very easy and on the other hand contains a lot of nuance. When you start to grasp the handle to plant the tip firmly,
1) Make sure your pole is still pointing backward, and landing in the middle of your stride or by your back foot.
2) Make sure your upper arm is still swinging in front and behind you side seam.
Whatever happens, keep pole walking!