aklikins and I went skating again tonight, and (being one who overthinks things), I’ve cataloged:
- Check your wheels.
- Duct tape is your friend. I can’t remember where I’d originally read about long-distance runners taping their feet with duct tape, but given that I’m just about the blisteriest girl on the planet, I figured it couldn’t hurt. I covered the bottom of both feet with tape (which is surprisingly easy since you can tear the tape to make little “darts” for arches and whatnot), which looked ridiculous (and elicited many amused comments when everyone was de-skating at the end of the night), but — hey — not a blister in sight! This is, for me, a minor miracle, as I can wear “so-comfy-they’re-ugly-euroshoes” (like Merrills or Monroes) and STILL get blisters.
- Tighter laces are not always better. I’ve always tried to lace the boots up really really tight as it made me feel more secure (and helped prevent rubbing and therefore blisters). Now since I’ve solved the blister issue (two words that are kinda fun to say in a row… try it), that is unnecessary, so I tried looser lacing. To my amazement, with looser laces it didn’t feel like my arches were cramping and my shins didn’t hurt. (This is one of the reasons I don’t like inline skates or skiing… the boot holds your foot at an angle, which makes my arch cramp up. Apparently my foot needs to flex.
- Your feet belong under your body. The analogy that I finally came up with is that it’s like walking in really high heels (or a catwalk walk), where your feet need to fall in a line as opposed to parallel. This is, of course, an over exaggeration, but it helped to think of it this way when I was trying to get the hang of balancing and shifting my weight.
- Your weight is shifted forward compared to where it is when you’re standing normally… you can’t stand up straight, as that leads to flailing (which leads, in my case, at least, to falling).
- The boots do help — the ankle support is useful. I had tried some “tennis-shoe style” skates and my ankles were way too loosey-goosey in them. I suspect that with practice this would not be so much of an issue (or maybe even if you don’t have little toothpick-ankles), but as a novice, Use The Boots, Luke.
- You don’t have to hold the skates on your feet, they are already laced on and aren’t going to fall off, so relax. I realized after about a half hour that I was clenching my feet (sort of like you do in order to keep a pair of flip-flops on), and this was leading to exhaustion and cramping and whatnot. aklikins pointed out that I really didn’t need to ***GRIIPPP*** the skates and he was right. I loosened up and things got better.
- You will fall. You will look stupid. Get over it
Which leads to
- Fear is not your friend. It’ll make you fall faster than anything.