ChiWalking: Mastering a Walking Event

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If you’re planning on walking an event, you know that it takes quite a bit of preparation. Since walking a course could take upwards of five hours, you need to be ready for anything that could happen.  So, how do you stay motivated and maintain your walking technique if you become tired or disheartened? You keep your mind and body connected, and to do that, you must first know where they each stand individually. What are your goals for race day? What is your physical capacity? These are the kinds of questions we encourage you to explore intimately in the last phase of our training programs, the Mastery Phase.

Know Clearly Where You’re At Mentally and Physically
Mental Status – Where’s your head?

Whether you’re using our running and walking training programs or not, it’s important to review your vision and your specific goals so you can make any necessary adjustments in your last phase of training. Is there anything about your current level of conditioning, or your walking event, that concerns you? All the training during this phase will be very specific to your vision and your needs, so now’s the time to address any doubts, fears or anxiety. You may also have had set backs, so now would be the best time to reassess your original goals. If you’re behind on your long walks or not getting as much mileage in as planned, you might want to reconsider walking a later race or a shorter one. Most training injuries are the result of listening to your mind instead of your body. After doing this reassessment, you might discover you’re much better off than you had planned! Either way, it’s essential to have a clear sense of your current mental and physical status before moving ahead.

Here are some questions to ask yourself during this “mental” evaluation. I suggest jotting down your answers. Your answers will help to shape and inform your training program as you move forward into specifically designing the next few weeks of your training.

End of week and end of workout reviews:
What are your internal goals?
  • Is it important that you walk a new PR (PB)?§How do you want to feel during and after the event?
  • External goals and/or concerns (fund raising, keeping up with someone, promises or expectations)?
  • To not have any expectations of yourself?
  • To walk a mindful race?
  • To feel you walked the perfect race regardless of your finish time?
  • To enjoy yourself?
What are your external goals?
  • Overall time or average goal pace?
  • To have a beneficial starting pace? (not too fast)
  • To finish pain-free?
Physical Status – Where’s your body?

Being clear with where your head is at is obviously only half of the picture. If you’re going to plan a road trip it’s best to make sure your car is in working order. What is your current level of conditioning? What are you truly capable of? Ask yourself, in general terms, if you have any physical problems or concerns. Note all significant answers in your journal or training log.

Check in with your body and calculate or measure the following:

  • Your resting heart rate [RHR]
  • Your maximum heart rate [MHR]
  • Your maximum aerobic heart rate [MAHR] and associated pace
  • Your aerobic range you want to hold during your walking event
  • Your walking time trial results
  • The results of your Yasso 800’s test

Understanding what you want to accomplish and what you’re capable of accomplishing will help you create realistic expectations and goals for yourself on event day. It will also help keep you grounded when you’re influenced by the adrenaline and energy of the race itself. Of course, these goals may change and adjust as you continue on with your training. Training for an event is a fluid process. You will grow and change – mentally, emotionally and physically. Be in touch with all those aspects of yourself as you prepare to complete the walking event before you.

Walk Your Way to Wellness!

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