Is speedwalking just for OAP’s?!?!
Is Speed Walking Just for OAP’s?!?
I’ve always laughed at the idea of speed-walking. The bum-wiggling I saw in the Olympics looked a little ridiculous and walking fast is easy, right? Really it’s just for old ladies in Florida….
That was until I read about the benefits of speed walking on improving conditioning and thus running speed in Tim Ferriss’ brilliant book ‘The 4-Hour Body’.
In fact, the more I researched into speed walking, the more appealing it sounded as an alternative to one of my weekly runs – an easy-on-your-joints way of increasing baseline fitness (conditioning), improves core strength and co-ordination, working you in the ‘fat burning zone’ (and I defo need that after Christmas) and easier to add into life than running as not much forward planning is needed – have a rucksack and trainers, can walk anywhere! It’s also a great way to train yourself in an up-right position (heel-strike long-distance running can result in the head and shoulders stooping forward while this is a much more upright positioning more similar to barefoot running so great for your posture)
So, I decided to get a speed walk session in each week.
My challenge is based on the session described in the 4-hour body, though as I have no running track and I’d like to try and add it in to my home-ward journey after a class, I’ve changed it slightly.
You literally walk as far as you can in 15mins, sounds easy huh?!
I have downloaded the fabulous Run-keeper app on my iphone and all you do is switch it on and it’ll tell you how far you have gone. Or try it on the treadmill (with a 1% incline on).
I did my second session yesterday. The first session was ok – quite easy and pretty boring – I did it on the treadmill which wasn’t ideal but I had 15mins to kill before a class so I thought why not. In the first 7.5mins, I walked 0.70km so I tried to go faster for the second half of the session and I managed to achieve 1.59km total.
The second session upped the challenge – I was outside in Battersea Park. I must say at first I felt like a bit of a dick. I was sure everyone was laughing at me and my swinging arms as I marched, however, I just kept reminding myself how this was going to improve my racetime so they will all be laughing on the other side of their faces soon! I got so into it – though I must admit you are DESPERATE to break into a run, it gets pretty tough and the minute I hit that 15min mark I took off in the nicest – feeling run I’ve had in a long time… Anyway, this time I managed 1.75km in total. I know I could’ve gone faster, I can’t wait to try again, I don’t think I can wait a whole week for another try….. it seems I have got the speed-walking bug!
Three times per week is the recommended amount for an improvement in conditioning and I can’t wait to see the difference it makes, I’m hooked.
Why 15mins for speed and power training? http://www.elitetrack.com/blogs/details/5999/
Walking fast means you will live longer… http://www.livescience.com/10406-fast-walk-predict-long-youll-live.html
More on the health benefits of speed walking . http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612
I’ve put a few easy stretches together to try at home. If you hold a stretch for less than 20 seconds, it doesn’t really do too much for you – try to hold for 30 seconds to keep your muscles supple. Over one minute will elongate the muscle and over 2 mins will help to relieve tight/chronic fascia as well as muscles.