Post-run conversation last week centered around walking, and more specifically, walk pace. The key takeaway, is that your walk pace plays a large role in determining your overall pace. Whether you’re a Fitness Walker or a Runner, if you’re racing, you are on the clock and have to maintain pace.
Regardless of which pace group you’re in, you want to focus on your walking. Your walk shouldn’t be a stroll. Your walk should be purposeful. It should be contributing to your forward motion. Many think that they can’t recover from a run if they walk to fast. Runners should be recovering their breath in about 10 seconds and using the remaining 20 seconds to hydrate or fuel so they’re ready for the next run. To help recover your breath, you want to control your huffing and puffing. To do this, go ahead and take that big inhale. When you’re ready to exhale, make it a long and slow effort, like you’re blowing through a straw. The longer your exhale, the quicker you will calm your breathing. This takes practice, but if you use this when you’re recovering, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. The other trick, is to practice this controlled breathing when you notice yourself huffing and puffing during the run segment.
Walkers, while you have less concern about huffing and puffing, you still need to focus on your walk. Everyone has more than one pace and if you want to increase your pace, focus on your hands. There’s a phenomenon with walking that forces the feet to follow the hands. If your hands are gently swinging by your sides, your walk will be gentle. If you want to pick up the pace, start pumping your arms a bit. You will see that your feet begin to move faster as well. On your mid-weeks, practice picking up the pace. Try to power walk between lamp posts or on the straight sections of a track. You will find that you can improve your overall pace with just a bit of practice.
The other thing that each of us can do is to practice trying to catch the person in our group, or in a race who has that ridiculously fast walk. By trying to catch them literally, or in your mind’s eye, you will improve your own walking, and see your pace and race times improve.