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How to train for a Walking Marathon Part 2

Posted by Jenny Swan

346 Days Ago


Following on from Part 1 of this Blog, I am going to discuss how you can design a programme to train for a 26.2 mile walking marathon.

The 10% Rule for Marathon Distance Training

Your marathon training timetable will vary by how much base mileage you have already built. If you have followed the advice given in Part 1 you will now have an acceptable base mileage of walking for fitness.  The accepted advice for increasing your total mileage each week, as well as the distance of your longest walk of the week is by no more than 10% each week.  You need to have done this for at least 6 weeks before you should think about the next stage and be walking comfortably for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The Commitment for Training for a Marathon

You need to know that you are committing to months of training, with a significant time spent each week on walking!

As a walker, you will be doing the same mileage as runners, but it will take you longer. That means walkers have an even bigger commitment for training. Here are the basic requirements and abilities for marathon walk training:

  • Able to walk for an hour at a time at a moderate pace.
  • Able to set aside time to walk every other day for at least an hour.
  • Time spent on off days for core strength training and extra stretching.
  • Able to set aside time to walk one longer distance walk each week, from 2 hours to 4 hours.

Base Mileage Building Schedule

Here is what your schedule for the next 7 weeks needs to look like:

  Week   

    Sun       

  Mon     

    Tues     

      Wed   

     Thurs    

     Fri     

      Sat     

     Total     

   1

   4 miles

   Off

  3 miles 

       Off

    3 miles  

     Off

   3 miles    

   13 miles

   2

   5 miles

   Off

  3 miles

       Off

     3 miles

     Off

   3 miles

    14 miles

   3

   6 miles

   Off

  3 miles

       Off

    3 miles

     Off

    3 miles

    15 miles

   4

   7 miles

   Off

   3 miles

      Off

    3 miles

    Off

   4 miles

    17 miles

   5

   7 miles

  Off

  3 miles

    Off

    4 miles

    Off

   4 miles

   18 miles

   6

  7 miles

   Off

   4 miles

    Off

    4 miles

   Off

   4 miles

   19 miles

   7

  8 miles

  Off

  4 miles

    Off

   4 miles

   Off

   4 miles

   20 miles

Base Mileage Buildup

Do switch around these days to fit in with your life, for example, your longer day could be Saturday, switching Saturday to Sunday or Monday. Or your longer day could be one of the week days. The goal is to build your total mileage safely.

The days off between walking days allow your body to rest up and build muscle.

On these off days, do take time to build your core strength and also for extrastretching.  Pilates or Yoga are great ways to achieve this.  Perhaps you could look for a local class and stick with it.  Make sure your teacher is fully qualified and insured and can answer any questions you have. (Little plug here for my own Pilates class that I run every Tuesday at 7.30pm at the Christian Life Centre, Horsham).

You could also safely walk for a half hour to an hour on those days as you progress, but lay off a day if you are feeling overly tired or sore.

Work on building distance rather than building speed to start. As you progress, you may find yourself speeding up, that is fine, but do not build speed until you can handle the distance comfortably.

If you find that one week is too hard, don't progress. Go back to a previous week's distance and repeat that week until it is comfortable. This is a marathon, not a sprint!  Trust the programme!

Don't forget to stretch after EVERY walking training session.  Pay attention to tight muscles, especially calf muscles and hip flexors as these are major contributors to the walking action.

Do pay attention to your posture.  This will get easier as you get stronger and will become second nature after a few weeks. 

 Conclusion

After you have achieved Week 7 comfortably there is further training information in Part 3 to take you to achieving your first half marathon.

Again, above all - enjoy your time outside.

Any questions, give me a shout.

Jenny Swan

Article written by Jenny Swan - Horsham

I started my professional life as a Solicitor while teaching fitness on the side.
When I married and had my 3 children, I added the Personal Training and the Sports Massage. Finding that I had a fascination with the human body and a hunger to really help people, I found a... [read more]

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