Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How much is enough.

When you are training to walk a marathon you don't need as much time and as many miles as someone who is running one needs. Although running and walking are both natural actions, the running is much harder on your body over such a long distance. Walkers are on the course a lot longer but they aren't being pounded with every step.

Walking requires being in motion from 5 to 7 hours. That much time takes it's toll on you and the final miles are going to be difficult, no matter how much you train. But how do you know how much training is enough? Well you don't because it depends on the shape you are in when you start and your overall fitness level.

I'm a firm believer in doing your training by combining a lot of different activities to make total time in motion longer. In the summer I would often do a 5 to 10 mile walk followed by 2 hours of pushing the lawn mower. Now I do miles followed by weights or pool work. It doesn't matter what the activity is just that your body is in motion. A walk followed by an hour of step, yoga or Pilate's is wonderful.

We were able to get in one 20 mile followed by a 10 mile walk, three weeks before the Goofy last January. The problems we had were not related to the miles trained at all. Getting up early two days in a row and the heat were more of a factor than the miles trained.

Vital things to have resolved before the race. You have to have your shoe and sock combination worked out before race day. If you can walk comfortably for 10 miles in a shoe/sock combination then they will work for the marathon. Same with clothes and chaff lube, if it works for 10 miles it should do fine for the race. But make sure you have these things resolved. A bad case of chaffing or blisters will be more of a factor than the miles.

At least one 20 mile walk within two to three weeks of the race is ideal, if you have the time for more or even a 22 mile that's great but if you can't you can still do the race on less, as long as you have kept your walking and exercising regular. The more weight you can lose of course the easier it will be to finish. Each extra 10 pounds you are carrying is like carrying a case of soft drinks strapped to your body so dropping what pounds you can will help as much or more than doing more miles.

Now remember this is for walkers. Runners or run/walkers need to toughen their bodies with a lot of training for the distance. That is why you realistically should have at least a year of base miles before attempting to run a marathon. A walker doesn't need as much time but what you do need is good over all fitness and proper equipment.

A good safe training plan is to add 10% per week to your distance. But you can add more activities to get your total time in motion up as well. Get creative with your additional activities, if you like dancing then by all means go dancing, for a few hours each week in addition to your other training.

We have 2 months till the Disney Half and Full marathon so now is the time to start getting the equipment figured out, eating better and getting in the extra hours of activity.

Thanks for reading.

Marathon Panda

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I plan on running and walking during the Disney, I should have my walk under pace by then. Wow, will that be great. I focus a lot on my walking pace because I am sure I may be doing some serious walking during the race. I'll see you there