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Copyright 2012
Club Northwest
RACEWALKING by Stan Chraminski

Training Principles

The following section is for those of you who intend to compete at racewalking or will use racewalking as a serious fitness activity.

Increasing Mileage.

Increase your miles in steps, over a period of time. If you have a good fitness base already, you can increase faster. If you are just starting to build a base, increase slowly. If you overdo it, soreness or pain in the legs will usually make you slow down anyway. After an increase in miles in any one week, drop back to near your old level the following week. This allows the body to recover from the excess stresses of the longer week. Build up in this "stepped" fashion. For example, if you are doing 15 miles a week, increase to 20 the next week but then drop back to 16-17. The following week go to 22-23, with a drop back to 17-18. This schedule would build up to 40 miles a week over about 3-4 months.


The above steps already give you an idea of hard and easy weeks alternating. You should extend this concept to days also. Plan your hard and easy days and weeks. Hard days are longer than average or faster than average. Easy days are either off days or slower, shorter mileage days. Your definition will vary as your fitness increases. An easy day to start may be 2-3 slow miles. Later, this may be 8-10 slow miles if you are training for the longer distances. A hard day may be a session at the track or any type of faster walking. It can also be a longer day such as your weekly longer walk of 10-15 miles.

Again, the definitions for each of us will vary but the concept of rest in between harder sessions is most important. As you get older, the schedule may be E-E-H-E-E-E-H over the course of a week. Hard weeks are ones when you increase your distance, do several speed sessions or have a race. You should then plan on taking the next week easier. If you are doing two speed sessions and a longer walk in a hard week, cut back to one speed session and a medium distance walk the following week. Save your energy for the hard days. Don't get into the "push every day" mindset. Relax and enjoy the easy days. Take pleasure in just being out strolling. Save the mental and physical energy for your quality workouts and long walks. If you overdo it your body will tell you to back off but it's a lot easier to carefully plan your schedule and insure you will feel good when the time to work hard comes. If you have a workout planned and feel rotten that day, it's best to postpone it until you feel better. Pushing through a bad day will just leave you exhausted and cause you to need more recovery days. Look at your training long term. Staying healthy and eager will bring dividends.