A few weeks ago you may have started your training, or rather you should have started your training! Now that you have started walking I hope it’s going well?
Funny isn’t how after just a short period of time you can move from “oh I better to start” to “hmmm…am I going fast enough, am I doing “it” (whatever “it” is) correctly and really am I going to walk 10 miles next Saturday….I mean really…oh right…hmmm”
So let’s break it down.
The MoonWalk is not a race, The MoonWalk is not a race, The MoonWalk is not race! But it is a challenge that you have to train for. It’s true: the more you train the faster you will gradually become until you reach a walkers plateau. However speed is also a psychological thing: you think you are slower than treacle but actually you are moving that butt!
It’s probably a good idea to take stock this weekend and as you should be entering week 5 on Sunday you’ll see that its “Any other activity” day (and no sitting on a couch is not classed in the same way!)
Rather than sit still why not try this
Measure an exact distance of 1 mile, either by car or bicycle. Running tracks are ideal. After warming up (you do don’t you), time yourself walking the mile at your fastest pace. You should feel a little out of breath and sweating but not gasping.
Depending on how easy or difficult you found it, you may like to complete the distance a couple more times to achieve your current average time for covering a mile. Then you can work out your current speed (here’s a nice page of calculators to help)
Make a note of it on your training plan. Then in a few weeks time do it again and see if you have sped up at all. This will help you calm your irrational fear that it’s “…going to take at least 3 weeks to complete the marathon!” However it’s only part of the story.
“I want to move like Road Runner!”
Remember that “walkers plateau” thing I mentioned? Well what happens is that you get to a point (and you may be there already) where actually you aren’t getting any faster. In fact you may well be at a point where you will start to injure yourself by pushing too hard.
So now what? Well what exactly are you aiming for? Are you happy to complete the challenge and be comfortable in crossing the line – then follow the advice in the training guide and my speed test above. But if you want a few tips on how to go faster and or improve your technique then read on.
Proper Power Walking technique is actually easier to master than it appears. Don’t get too hung up on mastering all the fine details, but just remember that some of us are born as faster walkers than others no matter what you do! I’m 6ft 2 and aim for 5.30hrs for completing a marathon. I have friends who are just over 5ft and they keep up with me or are in fact faster!
Length of leg has something to do with it but over striding is a no no! You think you will walk faster, but in fact over striding wastes a lot of energy and slows you down. Maintain a natural stride length, and to increase your pace, shorten your stride, take more steps per minute and use your arms.
Keep your posture upright, with your shoulders back and abdominal muscles pulled in. Watch out for back pain and pain at the top of your legs…clear indicators that you are slouching. This really is important. If you are walking in pairs make sure you look out for this!
Use them, don’t let them hang by your sides. Could you run without using your arms? Of course not! The same applies to Power Walking. Help them propel yourself along – imaging you are holding a pole in each hand as you walk. Top Tip: rather than have one full, heavy water bottle spread it over two and keep one in each hand. That way you will keep some focus on your hands and keep them up!
If your fingers swell it’s because they are hanging down by your sides! Get them UP! Remove all rings and jewellery if you are going for a long walk
A real “Nina’ism” but it works – imagine you are gripping a note between your butt cheeks and you don’t want to let it go! By doing so you will improve your posture by keeping your bum tucked in which in turn impacts on your overall posture.
Have a think about these points this weekend and experiment. There is still time and you are progressing nicely! Next week, as you head towards your 10 miles I’ll talk about aches and pains!
Wherever you are walking make sure you have a smile on your face, as that wonderful person Anonymous once said:
“Happiness is like jam. You can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself”
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