Hal Higdon: Half Marathon Walkers: This is a program designed especially for walkers training for the half marathon (13.1 miles). If you plan to run the half marathon rather than walk, check out one of my other programs at this distance designed for runners. You will receive daily emails telling you how to train and offering tips on that training. For additional information on how to walk a half marathon, visit my website: halhigdon.com.
Today, walk 30 minutes at an easy pace. Easy is defined in the introduction to this program as continuous, comfortable walking. Your breathing should be almost normal. You should move at a somewhat faster pace than if you were out for a simple stroll: window-shopping at the mall. If you're walking with a friend, you should have no trouble carrying on a conversation. In this workout, you simply want to cover an unspecified distance, not cover it fast.
Stroll for 20 minutes today. What is a stroll? It's your window-shopping pace. You very definitely can carry on a conversation with a friend. Seemingly, you're walking without purpose, but the actual purpose is to spend some time on your feet moving in a forward direction. Take time to smell the flowers. Don't worry about how fast you're going.
Walk 30 minutes at the same easy pace you used on Tuesday. Speed doesn't matter, nor does distance. You simply want to be out and on your feet for a half hour, so which course you choose doesn't count. The simplest approach is to walk from your home and go 15 minutes in one direction, then turn and walk 15 minutes back. Don't be surprised if you find you return at a somewhat faster pace. That's because you will be warmed-up. This is more likely to happen as your fitness improves--and it will if you faithfully follow this program.
Thirty minutes of strolling. A stroll is defined as the kind of walking you would do while window-shopping in the mall. Your breathing should be normal. Enjoy your walk. You might want to consider finding a more scenic course than the out-and-back-from-home course you use for your Tuesday and Thursday walks. Stroll on Saturdays, because you will be asked to walk long on Sundays.
This is the key day of our Walking program for the half marathon. On Sundays, we walk long. Three miles this first weekend may not seem long, particularly if you have a previous background as a fitness walker. But over the next 11 weeks we will take you to 10 miles for your maximum long walk. That comes in Week 11 and is far enough. I'm confident that you will be able to walk the extra three miles on the climactic race weekend, just as runners following my marathon training program jump from a maximum 20-miler to 26 in the race.
Today's workout shouldn't push you too hard. Go 30 minutes at an easy pace. One way to determine that easy pace is to wear a heart monitor that tells you that you are keeping your pulse rate between 60 to 75 percent of maximum. Or listen to your body.
Go for a 20-minute stroll. If yesterday's walk got you a little bit out of breath or caused you to sweat some, you shouldn't even approach that level of exertion today. Put your body on cruise control. This might be a good day to walk the dog, as long as your dog isn't a Lab or Retriever that wants to drag you along faster than I would like you to go.