For walkers hoping to re-purpose their activity sessions or just get a bit more energized, author Jodi Helmer has some tips in her article, “Ways To Amp Up Your Walking To Lose Weight, Tone, De-stress, and More…” for MyFitnessPal.com.
The “More…” part of the advice is WHY her piece is being featured on this post. It refers to training for a 10K race. Many walkers easily sign up for 5K’s in which friends or family may be participating as runners because they don’t intend or need to train for this distance. It’s a safe bet to finish because people who love to walk often cover this kind of ground on a good day.
Training to walk in a 10K seems to qualify as a genuinely ‘amped’ up walking activity. Helmer offers a simply described formula that involves walking 5 days a week, and incrementally increasing walked distances. The recommended times to be spent walking each week are not clearly laid out.
Personally, I would want to train a bit harder (“amp-up”) to insure finishing this distance competition. If a pace of 15-16 minutes/mile is average, the race duration will be about 95-100 minutes; longer with a slower pace. It may be best to follow a training plan that aims to have walkers gradually reach 90-100-minutes, or the full distance of 6.25miles (10K), on the last full weekend before the race. During the remaining last days the mileage/time might be lessened to rest the legs before race day.
Hal Higdon has an 8-week 10K walking plan. It can be adjusted to fit your experience. The long walk duration at each week’s end ranges from a smaller number of minutes to 90 minutes (35, then 45, 55, 65, 75, 80, 85, and finally 90).
The other walking goals in Helmer’s piece deal with employing this activity to slim down, de-stress, and tone muscle.
If the goal of amped-up walking is weight loss, she has encouraging words and a reminder to walk for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. To increase your calorie burn, the key move is to increase the intensity of your walks. Helmer provides a suggestion from Los Angeles walking expert Malin Svensson. She advises, ”incorporating intervals into your walk by walking as fast as possible for 60 seconds and returning to a normal pace for 30 seconds.” “ Do this 20 times to make up the entire 30-minute walk.”
If the energized walking aim is to improve your mental and emotional state, there’s a section about de-stressing. Although ‘amped’ up anything would not seem to be a way to chill out, Helmer makes the excellent point that taking your walking outdoors is essential to the process, and she reports research indicating that additional time is required to mentally disconnect from “negative repetitive thoughts”.
If the desired result of walking is to tone muscle, Helmer’s article informs readers that this activity will not “give you rock-hard abs or chiseled biceps”. Better to walk hills for this purpose, she writes, again on the advice of Svensson. “The steeper the grade, the more muscle activation required, according to research published in the journal Gait and Posture. The research also found that faster walking speeds on uphill grades require the most thigh muscle activation.”
Which of these walking goals would you consider working to attain? Weight loss? Longer race finish? Mental health? Stronger body? From the Earned Runs perspective, TRAINING FOR A 10k will help walkers to ACCOMPLISH ALL FOUR at the same time. It’s not necessary to work toward just one.
In training for a 10K you will be:
1) gradually acquiring the endurance to walk 90 minutes in one session, which is also recommended for de-stressing;
2) walking an increasing number of miles over 5 DAYS each week, and including higher intensity intervals, which is recommended for weight loss;
3) setting aside one day/week to TRAIN ON HILLS (like runners do), which is recommended for building muscle strength; and
4) preparing physically and mentally to cross the 10K FINISH LINE!!!!
If you don’t have an organized 10K competition in mind, or can’t find one that fits your schedule or budget (or those of your friends) request and you’re your 4 Earned Runs bibs for training, racing, and sharing.
Think about challenging yourself to train for and finish a 10K race. It could be the way to walking into a healthier, happier, and stronger life.
RUN AND WALK HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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