Do you walk the same distance and pace most every day? Do you feel like your fitness improvement has stalled? Do you want to prepare for a walking race, relay, or marathon? Time for a schedule with a variety of walking workouts.
This weekly suggested schedule, developed by Dave McGovern for his racewalk clinics, is for every kind of walker, including fitness walkers and racewalkers. You can mix and match the workouts below. The week should include one day of Economy workouts to build speed, two days of Threshold workouts to build aerobic performance, and one day of long distance. In between each of these workouts should be a rest day or a day of easy walking.
Monday: Rest day. No walking of significant distance or intensity.
Tuesday: Economy Workout. Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy pace. Then walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds or 200 meters (two city blocks in most cities). After 30 seconds, drop down to an easy pace for 2 minutes. Repeat the 30 seconds speed/2 minutes rest 8 to 12 times. Cool down with a 10 minute easy pace walk.
Wednesday: Recovery. Easy 3 mile walk at 65% to 70% of your max heart rate. This is a pace at which you can easily maintain a conversation but are breathing harder than at rest.
Thursday: Threshold Workout #1 - Speed. 10-minute warm up at easy walking pace. Walk fast for 8 minutes or 1 kilometer at 85% to 92% of your max heart rate. Then slow down to an easy pace for 2 minutes. Repeat this for 3 to 4 repetitions. Cool down for 10 minutes at an easy pace. The threshold pace is strenuous, but one you could maintain throughout a 10 kilometer/6 mile race. You will be breathing very hard and able to speak only in short phrases.
Friday: Recovery. Easy 3 mile walk at 65% to 70% of your max heart rate.
Saturday: Threshold Workout #2: Steady state or tempo workout. Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy pace. Walk 20 to 30 minutes at 85% of your max heart rate then cool down with 10 minutes easy pace.
Sunday: Distance Workout. 8 to 12 kilometers (5 to 7 miles) at 70 to 75% of your max heart rate. This is a conversational pace.
The key to these workouts is not to exceed your lactate threshold -- working out so hard and long that your body builds up lactic acid in the muscles. This occurs when you workout at 90% or more of your maximum heart rate for more than 50 minutes. By knowing your Maximum Heart Rate and using a heart rate monitor, you can ensure that you are working out at the right pace for the various workouts.
This variety of workouts will ensure you get slow fat-burning workouts, aerobic carbo-burning workouts that also build and feed your muscles, and avoid over-training and anaerobic workouts.