Video:Walking Race Training Planswith Jonathon E. Stewart
Build endurance, speed, and take your walking workouts to a whole new level by training for a walking race.See Transcript
Transcript:Walking Race Training PlansHey guys -- Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. If you're a regular walker, you've already stumbled on one of the best forms of exercise there is for your body. And, if you've got that competitive bone in you that's common to most athletes, you're in luck, because there are plenty of races out there specifically for walkers. It's even an Olympic event -- check it out.
What is Race Walking?Race walking is a sport that dates all the way back to the late 1800s, and continues to thrive in the 21st century. World class race walkers move faster than most of us run, and routinely compete in distances up to 50 kilometers. But let's start with an easy 5K, or 3.1 mile race, which is the most common distance for those of us whose sights aren't necessarily on the race walking Olympic gold. Start by finding a race that interests you that's at least eight weeks away, sign up, and get ready to take your walking workouts to a whole new level.
Begin Race Walk TrainingBefore you begin training, you should be able to easily walk at a comfortable pace for about an hour, without feeling sore in the following days. If you're starting from scratch, you may want to check in with your doctor to let her know about your training goals, and then slowly work yourself up to an hour of uninterrupted walking.
Choose Work and Recovery Walking DaysWe're going to divide your weeks leading up to the race into alternating work days and recovery days, six in total. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday could be your work days - Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday your recovery days - and Sunday a full rest day where you don't have to walk at all. Well, unless you want to... go anywhere.
Your recovery days should be easy - just a 60 minute walk at a comfortable pace. Be sure to stretch well on these days, and drink plenty of water and eat healthfully. Try to get to bed at a good time, too -- your body will use this rest time to allow you to push your body on your work days.
Working Walk Race DaysOn your work days, always start out and finish up with 10 minute warm ups and cool downs at a comfortable pace, then dig into your speed work. On Work Day 1, after your warm up, pick up the pace just a bit for 20 minutes - faster than you'd normally walk but slow enough to still be able to carry on a full conversation easily - then back to an easy pace for about 5 minutes. Repeat with one more 20 minute segment, then cool down.
On Work Day 2, warm up, then pick up the pace to a brisk clip for 10 minutes. This pace should get your heart pumping, but not quite be your fastest gear. Slow back down for 5, then repeat the 10 minute fast - 5 slow interval two more times before cooling down.
Finally, on Work Day 3, warm up, then do 4 to 6 sets of fast walking for 5 minutes followed by 5 easy, but this time your fast interval should be as fast as you can safely go. After your final set, cool down and relax.
The idea is to get progressively faster as the weeks go by, but remember to mind your body's warning signs - if you're overly sore or feel like you're straining joints or tendons, back off a bit. And, in the final week, be sure to cut way back on your total miles, and get tons of rest. That way on race day, you'll be feeling fresh and can just kick back and enjoy the scenery.
Happy training! Thanks for watching - to learn more, visit us on the Web at About.com.
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