A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Taper time: Looking back on a walking training plan

on September 27, 2017

Yesterday, I did my last long walk before my “Mom’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon” on October 15. My last long walks were 9 miles the weekend of 9/24 and 10 miles this weekend (which ended being pushed back to yesterday due to scheduling issues). In that sense, long workouts up to 9 and 10 miles before a two week (ish) taper seems very similar to my prior training to run half marathons.

Partners

Oliver helped me finish the last of my 10 miler yesterday.

 

I thought this would be a good time to think through the differences between training to walk a half marathon and training to run.

  • Undoubtedly, this is physically easier for me than running (which is what I needed for my neck!). I haven’t been great about the midweek speed and tempo workouts and still I’ve had no real trouble with the weekend long walks. That likely reflects the leftover muscle strength from running more than anything else, but even though I’ve done mostly easy walks through the weeks, I’ve been fine with the steadily increasing weekend long walks and have no doubt I can walk 13.1 on October 15.
  • I have to block out a lot more time to get these long weekend walks done! It turns out that a difference of 5 minutes a mile between walking & running pace really adds up once you get to 7+ mile walks!
  • I haven’t really needed any fuel during the long walks. I always bring something, in case I feel like I need it, but haven’t felt the same kind of fatigue or hunger in walking 10 miles as I do running 10 miles. I also haven’t really focused on eating specific things before the long walks and haven’t felt any fatigue or GI distress at all.
  • I haven’t felt the same fatigue or hunger AFTER the long walks either. I haven’t felt like I needed naps or been starving when I get back home.
  • I do need to replace my shoes with long walks, just like with runs. I’ve been using my shoes from the marathon in January and they are definitely DONE at this point. My feet are the sorest thing about me after the workout is over. (Treating myself to new shoes before my race!)
  • I don’t get the same rush of accomplishment after a long walk. 😦 That might have something to do with the fact that my heart rate stays fairly steady and low (120s) even as the hills and miles pile up. Even as I push my pace to 17-ish minute miles as opposed to 18-19ish minute miles, I can only get my HR to the 130s with walking. I just don’t get the same kind of endorphins without that massive effort I guess.

Ultimately, this training plan has been educational (still need good shoes, still need water, still need to gradually increase miles, don’t need much fueling) and has served its purpose in getting to me to move. It’s also served an important purpose in making me realize how much I want to get back to running, even if I will be starting back at step zero in terms of rebuilding stamina.

Now, I taper, which is weird since I don’t feel like I’ve worked nearly as hard as I do in a running training plan. Nonetheless, I’ll respect the plan – and my busy schedule for the next two weeks! I’m heading to Florida this weekend for a bachelorette party at EPCOT’s Food & Wine festival and then heading to San Diego next week for a work meeting. Both will be chances to get in lots of walking, but not a long workout so my race will wait until I get home. That also gives Oliver plenty of time to make my medal while I’m not around to see it. I’m looking forward to the surprise of my medal and to plotting out the path of my one-woman half marathon. I’ve been saving a walk in my usual park for race day so I get to really soak in the scenery and feel-good vibes on my race day.

Family

Isn’t it a gorgeous park? And isn’t that a gorgeous photo? Our family photographer rocks!!

The take home from all of this is that walking a half marathon (or any distance really) is a gentle way to challenge yourself to move more without jarring things around too much. I’m so grateful I’ve had this plan to keep me moving since my injury!

I can’t believe I’m about to walk 13.1 miles just for the fun of it! What’s the furthest you’ve ever walked? Want to take bets on how many miles I get in at EPCOT this weekend? 🙂

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2 responses to “Taper time: Looking back on a walking training plan

  1. Good luck on your walking half! That’s interesting to hear about the differences in walking and running long distances. The furthest I’ve walked is 7 miles. Although I wasn’t as tired as running, it took sooo long!

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