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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

What Are Junk Miles?

By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.


A racewalker posted this question on the Racewalk Mail List on the Internet: “What are junk miles?”  A high school coach had told him that junk miles were any miles walked at less than 80% of one's maximum heart rate.  So that racewalkers do NOT try to do all workouts at above 80% of max heart rate, let’s clear up this myth.

Very simply junk miles are any miles that are not consistent with your training goals.  I hope that racewalkers are not doing all their racewalking workouts at 80% or above.  That's a good way to get injured, burned out, or both.

The 60-70% workouts are just as important to your program as are the speed workouts.  National Racewalk Coach, Bohdan Bulakowski, calls these workouts “Walk One.”  Bob Ryan, the national youth racewalk coach, calls them “Level One walking workouts.”  I call them your long walk of the week.  Whatever you call them, the 60-70% workouts help build endurance and train your aerobic capacity.  Your long walks (approximately double your racing distance) should not be done at 80% heart rate.

Mark Fenton, former 50K national racewalk team member and editor of Walking Magazine, told my students that you should be able to always answer this question before any racewalking workout:  "What is the purpose of this particular workout?"  It could be an anaerobic threshold workout, a VO2 Max workout, maybe a time trial, a long, endurance day, maybe even a rest day.  Yet, each workout has a purpose or you don't need to do it.

Junk miles are different for different racewalkers.  For some students in a Beginning Racewalking class who are racewalking solely to lose weight, I want them racewalking EVERY single day.  I also encourage them to keep to a 60-75% heart rate.  On the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion - it's "Somewhat Hard."  New exercisers are more willing to stick with exercise at this level.  As they get more fit, we can readjust their goals and their workouts.

The Advanced Racewalking class has very different goals and therefore, a different program which includes some longer, slower workouts and some shorter, faster workouts.  Still, I can't think of anyone that I would recommend doing every workout at 80% or above.  Certainly not any racewalker who wants to be racewalking for years to come.

© 2007 by Bonnie Stein. All Rights Reserved.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY AND DISCLAIMER - The authors and publishers of this newsletter have used their best efforts in preparing the articles and information contained within it. Additionally, you are advised to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The authors and publishers make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages.

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