Sunday, July 12, 2009

Proud Panda

Last night I was beaten in a race by someone I've been helping to train. Another one of the guys I have been training with won a walk race in another city. The driving force behind the Panda Endurance concept is to promote fitness and wellness but also to promote fast walking.

John Bingham championed the cause of making it be ok to be slow. He helped people realize that even the slowest runner is still an athlete. I want to promote that you don't have to run at all to be a serious athlete. You can be walker and still be a strong, fit athlete. The more people that take up fast walking the sooner it will be a mainstream sport like running, swimming and biking.

This area I live in, Southern Kentucky is fast becoming a Meca for fast walkers. We have a lot of races that are pure walking, separate from the run races. The competition is intense and most races will have several senior Olympians. Lately more younger athletes are getting into the fast walking as a change from running.

A walker can train exactly like a runner, with Long Slower walks to build endurance, short fast waking to build speed and the combination walks where you go a medium distance at a steadily increasing pace. Any run training method can be adapted to fast walk training.

One of the biggest benefits of the walking over running is that it's easier on the body, even though more muscles are used. A fast walker will burn at least as many calories in a workout as a runner putting out the same effort. Another plus for the walking is that recovery time from a hard workout is shorter. Especially when training for marathons, a runner doing a 20 mile training run is really trashing their muscles and that requires recovery, the older you are the longer the recovery period to. Training for senior athletes is much different, not in the types of training but in the recovery.

Big cheers for my walking buds who did good this weekend and for what you did for the sport. You never know how seeing you excel will inspire someone else to change their own fitness level and become a recreational athlete.

Thanks for reading.

Proud Panda

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