Completing a marathon is one of the proudest moments that someone can experience. Months of hard work and dedication ended with a great result that you have completed a full marathon.
It is incredibly special, but it is even more special if you didn’t think that you would ever complete one in the first place.
Lots of people want to complete marathons, but it doesn’t just have to be runners. People complete walking marathons all over the world, and they are very hard work.
It is a misconception that a walking marathon is easier than a running marathon as it still requires a lot of work and training.
This article will take you through walking marathon training so that you can see all of the hard work and effort that goes into them.
You can find out more below to see if it is something that you would be interested in taking part in!
Is Walking A Marathon Easier?
It isn’t easier to walk a marathon over running one, but the intensity level is less than if you decided to run.
Running is a high-intensity activity, so running a full marathon can be very intense. Walking a marathon isn’t easier in every aspect, but the intensity level is lower, so people find it more appealing.
Despite running being a high-energy exercise, walking a marathon involves moving your feet for a much longer time.
When you run, you take longer strides and you are partly in the air, but with walking, your feet are constantly making contact with the ground.
This is why training is necessary, as you need to prepare your body to walk the full distance.
Can Anyone Walk A Marathon?
Some people have the idea that to participate in a marathon, you need to be super sporty and slim. This is not the case as anyone can have a go if they want to and if they feel ready!
You should never compare your body shape to anyone else’s, so if you feel ready to participate in a walking marathon and you have trained well, you should go for it.
No one is too old to participate in a marathon if they have done all of the training and have good fitness levels.
It is important to make sure that you are ready to enter a walking marathon as you do not want to put your body through more than it is ready to cope with.
This could result in an injury, so ensuring that you have trained properly is important.
Who Shouldn’t Participate In A Walking Marathon?
People think that a walking marathon is a good day out with the whole family, but children are advised not to participate.
This is because of the training that is involved in a walking marathon as it can be very intensive, so children will not feel the same benefits as adults will.
The demands of training for a walking marathon will be too much for children, and nutrition is a big part of the preparation.
Children are still growing, so being on a restricted diet can affect both their bodies and minds. This can be dangerous to their development, so it is advised that they do not take part.
Pregnant women should also consult a doctor before taking part in a walking marathon as they want to make sure that it will not be too much for their bodies to go through.
You need to look after yourself, and even though light exercise can be beneficial, a walking marathon might be too much for you to participate in.
If you have any other health problems, you should always consult with a doctor before you participate in an event like a marathon.
You need to make sure that you will be able to cope with the pressure, exercise, and demands of a marathon and that your condition will not worsen from participating.
Walking Marathon Training
If you are interested in participating in a walking marathon, you will need to make sure that you have participated in the training.
What should you be focusing on to make sure that you are successful when completing the marathon?
To complete a walking marathon, you will need to participate in endurance training.
This will help to train your aerobic system to ensure that you will be able to walk for long distances without getting too tired too quickly.
Your body might not be used to walking for long periods, so endurance training can help with the adjustment to help you during the marathon.
The best way to increase your endurance is to gradually increase the number of miles that you walk in a training session.
It can be difficult to walk more miles, but you will find it easier if you gradually increase them. If you set yourself goals that are too high or unattainable, you will find that training sessions are too intense.
If you do not increase the number of miles that you walk in training sessions, you will not improve your endurance.
This will make it very difficult for you to increase your fitness levels, which will then make it very hard for you to complete the marathon.
Training yourself to walk at a faster pace will help you to complete the marathon in a good time.
This will allow you to make sure that you can achieve your goals, so setting yourself an achievable goal to work towards will motivate you during your training program.
If you begin to walk too fast without the right training, you will not be able to maintain this speed and you will find it difficult to walk the entire distance.
It is much more beneficial to gradually increase your speed to make sure that your body can make the right adjustments.
Doing too much too quickly will put you at a higher risk of injury and you won’t be able to keep up.
Rest is an important part of training as you need to allow your body time to recover. Without sufficient rest, your body will burn out from too much pressure and strain.
The more you increase your speed and distance, the more rest your body will need to make sure that you do not experience any injuries.
One of the big mistakes that people make when training for a walking marathon is that they try to do too much. They do not want to take rest days or breaks as they feel like it will hinder their progress.
However, this is not the case. You need to let your body recover as this will help you progress with your walking speed and distance.
To make sure that you are still looking after your body in between your rest days, you should alternate between short and long walks.
If you are constantly training by doing long walks, your body will be exhausted.
Even when you are not resting, still letting your body alternate between high and low-intensity walks is beneficial to your health and will help you to avoid injuries.
Stretching before you exercise is very important, especially if it is a long-distance walk.
Lots of people think that because walking is not as intensive as running, you do not need to stretch as there is no risk of injury.
However, it is still a form of exercise, so there is a risk that you could pull a muscle if you do not stretch well beforehand.
You should stretch your legs as they will be doing a lot of the work during your training session, but you should stretch your entire body.
Marathon walkers are prone to ankle injuries, so stretching your ankles to make sure that they are warmed up will ensure that you are comfortable during the walk and that you can concentrate on finishing.
Your arms may not seem like an important part of your body to stretch before a walking session, but they help you to increase your speed.
If you strain your arm, this could affect your whole performance as you will be concentrating on that instead of your walking.
Strength training is very beneficial for marathon walkers as you will be on your legs for a very long time, so making them stronger is very important.
You will feel more powerful and confident when you begin strength training and you will begin to see your walking progress increase.
If you have never lifted weights before, you should not go too heavy too quickly.
This could cause an injury and hinder your progress, so you should always start with bodyweight or lightweight exercises.
You should perform a variety of leg, arm, and core exercises to help to improve your fitness and strength for walking.
Participate In Other Exercises
Just because you are training for a walking marathon does not mean that you should only be walking. Taking part in other aerobic exercises can help to improve your fitness and to mix up your training routine.
If you are constantly walking, it can get a bit boring, so adding some other activities into your routine can keep it interesting and allow you to enjoy some change.
Cycling, swimming, and running are all good aerobic exercises that can help to increase your stamina and your aerobic fitness.
You can choose whatever exercises that you want to do to change up your routine, but you should be walking at least 4 or 5 days a week to make sure that you are focused on the marathon.
When Should You Start Training For A Walking Marathon?
If you want to start training for a walking marathon, you can start whenever you want!
There is no time like the present, so starting straight away can help you to enjoy getting out to enjoy the fresh air whilst focusing on your fitness.
You will also be working towards a goal, so you will be motivated to continue your training.
The reason that people feel intimidated by marathons is that they are very long. They are 26.2 miles, which some people find extremely daunting.
Lots of people find that they continue to put off their training sessions as they do not want to face the 26.2 miles, but you need to keep in mind how accomplished you will feel afterward.
How To Increase Your Speed
To increase your walking speed, tempo walks are a great way to focus on walking at a faster pace and to see good results.
When you are taking part in tempo walks, it will involve you walking at a fast pace for an extended period to help you get used to walking at a pace that you are not used to.
The speed that you are walking at should be faster than normal, but not so fast that you find it difficult to keep up with it.
You should also make sure that you do not start by walking a very long distance.
You should begin walking at a fast pace for 5 minutes, then build it up to 10 minutes, and then eventually see if you can maintain the speed for half an hour.
You will then be able to train your body to maintain a fast pace and gradually increase the distance.
This will allow you to see an improvement in your performance and to achieve your goals of completing the marathon in a certain amount of time.
Does Speed Matter?
Speed does not necessarily matter when you are training for a walking marathon, but it does matter to some people.
If you want to complete the marathon in a certain time, the speed that you walk at will matter as you want to make sure that you achieve your goal.
However, it is usually advanced walkers who worry about their speed as they have set out goals that they want to hit. For beginners, it doesn’t usually matter.
It is beneficial to participate in speed training, but it is usually something that people work up to.
It is not a requirement for walking marathon training, but some people prefer to incorporate different exercises.
When you are setting goals for your walking marathon, speed might not come into it at all for you, but it might do for others.
You should never compare your own goals with someone else’s as you will want to achieve different things. It is important to do the marathon for yourself, not to copy anyone else’s goals.
Walking Marathon Training Schedule Example
If you are a beginner, you might be unsure how you should approach training for a walking marathon. In week 1, you should aim to walk 10 miles on Sunday and then rest on Monday and Tuesday.
You should then walk 6 miles on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, walk 6 miles on Friday, and rest on Saturday. You will then have walked a total of 22 miles that week.
You should then gradually increase the number of miles that you are walking on Sunday as the week progresses.
On week 2, you should walk 12 miles on Sunday, on weeks 3 and 4, you should walk 14 miles, and on week 5, you should walk 16 miles.
You can then begin to increase the number of miles that you walk on Wednesday from 6 miles to 7 miles.
Even if you are a more advanced walker, you can start your week 1 training schedule by walking 14 miles on Sunday, but you should continue to gradually increase the number of miles that you walk.
You shouldn’t walk too much just because you are more advanced as this could cause you to suffer from an injury.
As an advanced walker, you can continue to walk 6 miles on Wednesday and Friday, but you can also walk 3 miles on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
This means that Monday will be your rest day, but on the other days, you will be participating in short walks.
If you would rather have a different rest day, you can swap around the miles, but make sure that you are not doing 2 long walks one after another.
The reason that advanced walkers have a more intense training schedule is that they will need to maintain their fitness.
If you are a keen hiker or walker, you will need to use the advanced training schedule to make sure that your fitness does not slip.
The beginner schedule might be too relaxed for you, so the advanced one will help you to prepare.
What Footwear Should You Wear?
When you are training for a walking marathon, running shoes are the desired model to wear. They will allow you to be comfortable during the walk and they will offer you a lot of support.
You will need to make sure that the shoes are of high quality to ensure that they will keep you comfortable and will not break when you are wearing them.
If you are wearing uncomfortable shoes, you will find it hard to focus on anything else. You will also be prone to blisters, which can be very painful, uncomfortable, and difficult to treat.
As you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, you need to make sure that you will not be in a pain and that you will be as comfortable as possible.
Running shoes are beneficial to walkers they allow walkers to feel supported during long distances. They are not just made for running and they are the ideal choice for marathon walkers to wear.
You should also make sure that you are not wearing brand new shoes for your marathon as you do not want them to hurt, so make sure that they are broken in first.
To conclude, when you are training for a walking marathon, it is important to focus on endurance training and pace training to help you succeed.
Pace training is important as you need to make sure that you are happy with how you complete the marathon, but speed doesn’t necessarily matter to others.
Some people will have in mind the desired time that they want to complete the marathon, but others will not.
Wearing comfortable shoes is very important for both the training and the marathon as you do not want to have any injuries like blisters as they can hinder your progress.
You will not be able to focus on your marathon as you will be distracted by pain. Running shoes are the desired footwear that should be worn for a walking marathon.
It is important to make sure that you stretch and give yourself time to recover as you do not want to injure yourself.
If you do not give yourself time to rest, you will exhaust your body and will be more likely to suffer from severe muscle injuries.
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