Have You Had Your Walk Today?
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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Your Long Walk

By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

What’s your idea of a long race?  A 20K, a marathon, or maybe a 50K?  At 31 miles, the 50K Racewalk is the longest foot-race in the Olympics, yet it’s not even the longest racewalk you could do.  How about 325 miles of walking?  That’s the Paris-Colmar (as in France) Ultra Racewalk.  It’s held every year for a select few super fit racewalkers who are strong enough (and crazy enough?) to attempt to conquer the amazing distance.

It occurs every May in Mairie de Montreuil, a north suburb of Paris. The race ends in Colmar in eastern France, near Germany.  The 325 mile race equals 533 kilometers, or more than 100 times a 5K race.  The winner completes the course in about 62 hours.  There is a time limit of 75 hours.  Doesn’t make your “long walk of the week” seem so bad, does it?


How long justifies a long walk?  Be assured that you don’t have to do the Paris-Colmar distance to qualify.  A long walk is usually considered double your racing or normal distance walk.  If you’re racewalking 3 miles a day, then 6 miles or a 10K would be your long walk.  Ten kilometer walkers would typically do 20K for their long walk once a week or once every other week.  But there is a point of diminishing returns.  A 50K racewalker would not be wise to do 100K every week, nor even every other week.  The longer your racing distance, the shorter your long walk can be relative to your daily distance. Most of us race 5-10K’s, so double our racing distance works well for us.

What if you want to racewalk a marathon?  Should you then do 50 miles for your long walk?  Hardly.  Urbanowski, from Poland, a former winner of the Paris-Colmar Racewalk, trains 200K (120 miles) per week.  Considering the length of his long race (533K), Urbanowski doesn’t cover the distance even in one week, much less in one long workout.

Ideally, over time you’d want to work up to the 26 mile distance in your training walks.  For most racewalkers who enter a marathon, the goal is complete, not compete.  For complete goals, all we need to do is eventually cover the distance of the race in our long walks.  For compete goals, the distance of your long walk would need to be greater.  For racewalkers looking to train for a marathon, I recommend Jeff Galloway’s book Marathoning.  Although it was written for runners, there’s lots of good information in it for us.

Whether your goal is an intense session of fat burning and calorie burning, or you want to train for a half marathon or marathon this year, next month we’ll discuss “Why do a Long Walk?”  Meanwhile, Paris-Colmar is coming up in May and the prize for first place is $10,000.  Not a bad reason to take a long walk this weekend.


© 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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