Since I signed up to the Macmillan Jurassic Coast Trek this Summer back in January, I have been toying with the idea of buying some walking poles. People I have spoken to have recommended them to me as they can take the pressure off the knees when walking down hills, and also help propel you forwards when walking up hills.
They are also something to focus on, and hold preventing getting sausage fingers, something I struggled with when training for the Moon Walk last year.
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Which Walking Poles To Buy
Which are the best walking poles to buy? After some research I bought these poles as the price was right and the reviews were mostly positive. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on something I may only use a few times, but at the same time I wanted them to be reliable and not fall apart.
My few main requirements when selecting my poles were that they had to be telescopic. I don’t want to be lugging around long poles when walking 22 miles, especially when I may be queueing for a comfort break for example.
On first impressions my walking poles looked to tick all the boxes, they are easy enough to extend and put away again when needed, and also have rubber tips. They are quite lightweight which was also another requirement of mine. My body is going to be screaming at me by the end of the walk, I know I won’t want to be carrying anything that I don’t need.
I took the walking poles out for their first outing when I went for a hike between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. I have done this walk previously with the family, but as it’s part of the route during the walk, I was keen to see how tough some of the other hills were going to be, especially this one pictured below.
The picture doesn’t do the incline any justice, but let me tell you it was difficult. I was finding small spaces to get a grip with my feet to propel myself up the hill. Coming down it was another challenge in itself.
This hill will appear at around the ten mile marker on my trek, and I will be coming down it rather than going up it. I was grateful for my walking poles on this hill as I found they were helping me to steady myself in the uneven ground.
How To Use Walking Poles
I first started using walking poles at the base of Lulworth Cove in the carpark, we had a decent incline at the beginning. I found the poles took a little while to get used to but once you’re in the rhythm then they are so easy to use, and I found they were something to focus on to stop myself thinking of my calves that were burning as we were climbing the hills.
By holding the poles on the grips and striding with your arms, the poles become a natural part of your walking stride. They act as a great way to focus your walking and also help prevent your fingers becoming swollen which can happen on longer walks.
The places the poles didn’t help was across Lulworth Cove itself, which is full of shingle and very uneven to walk across. They really were being used as an accessory at this point, but the beach isn’t vast enough to warrant putting them away before I wanted to use them again, so I carried on with them.
During our walk, I shared my walking poles with my training partner, and as it was my first time using them, I was eager to compare walking with the poles and walking without to see if it did make a difference.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to notice any difference, but actually I can see how much better the walking was with the walking poles. After that morning, my training partner has also been convinced to buy some walking poles as well which says it all really.
This week I did a training walk in the forest that was very hilly and I didn’t take my walking poles as I wasn’t sure of the terrain. I definitely noticed a difference so my poles will be with me on every training walk from now on. If you’d like to read more about why I decided to walk 22 miles to raise money for Macmillan Cancer you can read about it here.