The first rule of adventure racing is to know your limits and know yourself. During our Basic Bushcraft course we discuss how important this first rule is in survival. If you take time to listen to your feet they will tell you well it is time to stop and take care of them. Even during an adventure race you need to have good foot care.
An old army adage is: You are only as good as your feet.
Take care of your feet by keeping them powdered and dry. Change your socks once they are wet. A trick that I learned in the army was to dangle your spare set of socks off of the top of your rucksack. They dry quickly, unless you happen to find yourself here in County Kerry. Nothing really dries here.
We had a rule while on patrol. Once per hour we would stop and set up a hasty patrol base. We would take this time to rehydrate, grab a quick bite to eat, and check the map. We would wait for about ten minutes. The magic of that 10 minute window is that gives your feet enough time to relax and let you know if they are in pain.
You feet have a great way of ignoring pain. It comes from a long lineage of running away from saber toothed tigers. Your feet could be raw from blisters but you might now realise the extend of the damage until you get off of them.
We have a whole blog on blister care.
Adventure Race Foot Care
This is not a dry foot.
Find Firm Fitting Footwear
In the service, I found that having two layers of socks worked best for me. I would have a nylon foot sock followed by a super thick woolen sock. That first layer was like a second skin. It kept the rubbing down to a minimum and greatly reduced the amount of blisters.
Boots: Most of my experience with tabbing has been in uniform. There are plenty of high end boots that are far superior to the army issue boots that we had to deal with. Find a reputable sports shop in town and have them find you a good fitting shoe. This is not the time to buy cheap. You don't want crappy support and shoes that fall apart on the adventure race.
A rule of thumb is to find boots between €150-€250. That extra cash will keep them lighter than the army type boots that are out there.
Support: With the glass ankles that I have from falling out of perfectly good airplanes, I need a high leather boot. This makes for difficult ventilation but it is well worth it. If you have ankles of steel then you can opt for a lower boot.
Material: Buy good quality boots. If they are not leather then make sure that they are water proof.
Laces: Lacing options are vast and varied. Tight lacing can provide better heel control. I am a fan of having two separate lacing ties. The foot lace is tight and secure. I then double lace around the ankle that locks it into place and minimised movement. Then I continue lacing up the calfs with a looser lace that allows movement.
If your boot is too tight you will lose circulation.
Don't be this guy.
More information can be found at www.RemoteMedicine.ie