your year down into specific seasons with a different
emphasis for each. Our weather makes this a natural
pattern in the Northwest.
Concentrate on building a good mileage base. Bundle
up and get out there regularly, but GO SLOWLY. The
emphasis is on building your aerobic base and strength.
By not worrying about speed, you can devote your
energies to getting out and walking without added
pressures. If it's truly icy, then racewalking is
difficult because of the push off needed. If you
can, jog on snow or ice since you can maintain better
footing. Otherwise, find a treadmill or nordic track
or other aerobic firtness machines and work out
indoors. Use the holidays with the days off from
work for extra miles. It also will help keep from
gaining weight during the holiday binge season.
As weather improves, work on strength and technique.
Good workouts are hill repeats. Just walk strongly
up a decent hill of 100 -200 yards and slowly jog
or walk down to prevent jarring the knees on the
downhills. Repeat several times and slowly increase
the number of repetitions over a few weeks. Other
good workouts for this time of year are hard pushes
of about 1/2 to 2 miles. Concentrate on being smooth
and relaxed while walking faster. You can also do
up to 3 miles of continuous harder walking to get
you used to keeping good form while you are tired.
Now is the time to get sharp. Use shorter repeats
of 220-440 yards to practice going very fast while
keeping form. Start with 3-4 repeats and work your
way up. To build endurance, keep recovery between
hard repeats to an easy walk of the same distance
of the repeat. To build speed, rest a little longer
between repeats. A mix of both is good over the
course of the summer. Also do longer surges of 1/2
to 3 miles to work on endurance WITH speed. These
longer intervals will be slower than race pace at
these distances because you will not be as rested
as when you taper down for a race. Concentrate on
being smooth and legal. Two workouts per week should
get you to prime racing shape.
You should now be as fast as you will be for the
year and should ease back on mileage and harder
workouts and enjoy racing your fastest. You can
race during the other seasons but you will not be
as sharp until the summer and fall. Use the other
races as training and to meet your fellow walkers.
Continue about one speed session a week to feel
sharp but more will probably get you stale and down
from your peak. So, ease back.
You should see the pattern above. Start with longer
slower walking to build strength. Move to hills
and longer fast walking for continued strength and
beginnings of speed. Sharpen with shorter workouts
to top off the speed and be ready to race. This
pattern can be compressed into two six month seasons
if that meets your racing goals better. The object
is to decide in which part of the year it is most
important to be fastest, then plan a schedule so
the sharpening work coincides with your racing peaks.
It's easy to get stale and tired when training so
it's good to schedule a break of an easy few weeks,
especially at the end of the racing or fall season.
Cut back to about half of your normal level and
just walk easy. Take a few days off and do something
else you enjoy. You'll feel refreshed and ready
to come back to the long, slower miles of the winter