In the past few weeks, I've started walking again in the evenings. Normally I can only do this about two evenings a week, which is surprising considering that I used to walk six or seven evenings a week. At first, I was walking in my crocs shoes, but whilst comfortable, these aren't the sort of shoes intended for a five kilometre walk. Over the past two weeks, I've been wearing my walking shoes, accompanied by copper socks which are slightly two small. As a result of something, I've been suffering from shin splints - almost certainly a sign that I need new shoes.
So yesterday afternoon, I went to the sports shop in the local mall and tried a few pairs of shoes. The salesman appeared to know what he was talking about as he asked several pertinent questions before finding a suitable pair of shoes. These fit well but are a drain on the wallet - even with 25% discount, the price was about $170 - but in the case of walking shoes, it is important that they are quality shoes and that one should not try to make false savings.
In the evening, I put the shoes on and went for my walk. After about six circuits (about 1.5km), the pains started again. I slowed down and tried to analyse what was happening: it's not that the shoes are new or that the socks are too tight (although I want to try walking with ordinary socks), but rather because I am walking incorrectly. The proper way to walk is heel and toe, heel and toe, but I notice that when I start walking fast, I slam the foot down 'in one piece' on the path, with the arch - which is probably the weakest part of the foot - taking the impact. And almost certainly that's the source of the pain. I managed to outlast the pain then walk properly for more circuits,eventually completing 5km - but 'only' at an average speed of 6km/h (I prefer to walk at 6.5 km/h). I suppose it's better to walk 5 km in 50 minutes with no pain (and no muscle damage) rather than walk 5 km in 45 minutes: more calories are burnt at the cost of pain and muscle damage.
My left shin still hurts a little today so I'll probably skip walking in the evening. As tomorrow evening is the beginning of the Yom Kippur fast, obviously I won't be walking either tomorrow or the day after either, so now one can understand how I manage to walk only two or three times a week! Tomorrow morning I will take the dog for a long walk - off the lead - which will help condition the shoes.