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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Tips For Long Walks

By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Back in the 1960ís, national racewalking team member Bob Bowman would racewalk 50 kilometers (31 miles!) without drinking any water.  To make matters worse, Bob and his team would repeat the 50K each weekend for their long walk of the week.  This was considered good training 40 years ago.  Our 50K racewalkers today are much faster since they learned to hydrate and donít walk 50K every weekend.

Since long walks and marathons seem to be on the minds of many racewalkers at this time of year, below are some tips that have worked well for those who are new to long distances.  Remember that there are many different coaches with an equal number of books recommending different training schedules.  Keep in mind that nothing about training is set in stone.  Iíve always recommended replacing your shoes every 3-5 months, yet a racewalker or runner will make me cringe by telling me about his two-year-old shoes that are still pumping out the miles.  I grimace when racewalkers do what I think are too many hard days in a row, but whatís too many for you?

I prefer a conservative and progressive training program that gives you plenty of time to work up to the mileage that will lead to a successful marathon.  I am opposed to programs that claim you can walk a marathon in four months even if youíre a brand new walker.  Here are tips that Iíve used successfully with hundreds of racewalkers, and so I share them with you.

Important tips to remember when doing long distances:

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Donít do too much too soon (increase by only 5-10%) every couple of weeks.

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 If youíre new to long walks Ė increase your walk very gradually till you finally are at double your regular distance.  For example, if your regular distance is 3 miles a day, then your long walk will eventually be 6 miles once a week.  However, not THIS weekend.  Increase little by little.  This weekend you can do 3 1/4 miles.  Next weekend do 3 1/2 miles.  The following week do 3 3/4 miles. Increase week by week until you reach 6 miles once a week.  Remember that your long walk once a week should be a done a bit slower than your regular pace (#6 on a scale of 1-10) and about 2-3 minutes per mile slower than race pace.

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Donít train when in pain.  If it hurts, itís going to get worse after a long walk (after the endorphins are gone).

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 Use frozen peas for any sore areas - 20 minutes at a time, every two hours for 5 times a day!  Repeat for 3 days.

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Drink lots of water during your walk.

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For walks over 90 minutes - take in some glucose (Gatorade, cut up PowerBars, diluted Powerade) during your walk.

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Use Runners Lube or vasaline petroleum jelly on your feet, under your arms, etc. for any areas that may chafe.

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Carry Runners Lube in a fanny pack for friction areas that appear while walking.

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Wear sunscreen, chapstick and sunglasses.

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Wear matching outfits (just checking to see if youíre still reading).

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Never wear new clothes that you havenít tried in practice at a shorter distance.

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Be aware that youíll need to replace shoes more often when your mileage increases.

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Stay at a comfortable pace (60-70% of max heart rate) - about 2 minutes per mile slower than race pace.  Donít race your long walks!

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Drink lots of water all afternoon.

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Eat within 30 minutes after walking a long walk - replace those glycogen stores or your next walk will suffer.

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Take the next day off after a very long walk.

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Always concentrate on good technique (not just getting in the miles), even on a 2 or 3-hour walk.

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Have fun and think about all the calories that youíll be burning.

 

 
© 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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