How Anyone Can Train for the Walking Marathon
A marathon sounds intimidating, but it only makes the odds of completing one all the more exciting, and memorable.
You don’t have to be an athlete to train for, and complete, a marathon. You can even be overweight, shapeless, and wandering couch potatoes. All you need is determination and will stick to your training program.
Facts about the Walking Marathon
The marathon is 42 km away, and is often reserved for runners. However, many marathons and half-marathons (13 miles) are starting to welcome walkers too. Check for events in your area that allow pedestrians to participate.
The first step
You may have heard you should check with your doctor before starting a fitness program, and that advice is especially important when training for such remote events. Walking long distances can put a significant amount of strain on your body, especially if you are relatively out of shape. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your exercise program and any health problems you have before starting.
After getting your doctor’s approval, you will need comfortable shoes and clothing. Don’t jump on shoes – this isn’t the time to pick up a pair at your local discount store. You need shoes that fit well and that provide good support and that are designed for walking. Try on shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are probably the biggest of the day, and wear the same kind of socks you’ll be going in.
When you are still walking short distances, you should be able to wear socks and clothes for the walk. However, as the distance increases, you should invest in some socks that are designed to prevent blisters. On days of your long commuting, you may want to take the blister ribbon with you just in case. Many hikers have had good results with lubricants designed for runners. Keeping areas of your feet prone to blisters lubricated will help prevent blisters.
As for clothes, if you walk in very hot or cold weather, you have to be careful not to get too hot or too cold. Visit a sporting goods store to buy moisture wick clothing suitable for your climate.
Finally, you will need a pedometer. You can get a simple one that only counts the steps for around $ 5-10, or you can pay as much as $ 50 or more for a more complex model. Regardless of which you choose, you should track the distance each day of your walk.
Even if you are out of shape, you will be able to join a marathon training program if you allow yourself time to work longer distances. For your first walking week, plan on walking five days at a comfortable distance each day. Many hikers plan to take breaks one weekend day and one day a week. Your weekend walking day will eventually become your long-distance walking day.
Say you can only do a mile comfortably for the first week. Your second week may look like this.
- Monday: 1.6 km * Tuesday: 1.6 km * Wednesday: 1.6 km * Thursday: Rest * Friday: 2.1 km * Saturday: 1.5 to 2 miles * Sunday: Rest
You will gradually increase your weekday walks and weekend walks until you walk about three to six miles on weekdays and up to 18 to 20 miles on your long distance days.
The most important thing you can do to avoid injury is to increase your distance gradually. Once you have established what distance you are initially comfortable walking, you should increase your weekly distance by no more than 10 percent at any one time. So, if you completed the first five miles in your week, by the second week you should complete no more than five and a half miles. Next week, you will complete no more than six miles, and so on.
Other Tips for Success
Stay well hydrated when walking. This is especially important in warm weather and on your long distance days, but you should develop a habit of carrying water with you.
On your long distance days, stick to high quality snacks. Nuts and raisins are easy to carry and provide a quick energy boost to those on a walk.
Reduce the length of your trip two to three weeks before the date of the marathon or half marathon. Your weekday walks should fall to three or four miles each, and your weekend walks should be reduced to twelve miles or more each for a full marathon. Your body will need time to rest before tryingoba full range.