Training Tips & Nutrition
Preparing for your walk
- It is a good idea to follow a training plan or at least gradually increase your distance until you feel happy about walking the 8 mile distance.
- Make sure you have a good fitting pair of shoes. Don’t get a new pair of trainers just before the walk it is better to break them in at least a few weeks beforehand.
- If you want to get some new clothing for the walk wear it or at least wash it beforehand to avoid chafing. Please try and wear your Midnight walk T-shirt when training so people can support you and help raise awareness.
- Buy a pedometer it is really encouraging to see yourself reaching your goals each week with distance and times.
- Aim to walk at least 2 – 3 times a week with possibly two shorter walks mid week and a longer one at the weekend. If you are a beginner start with 1 mile mid week and 3 miles at the weekend. If you are fitter start with 5 miles mid week and 8 miles at the weekend.
- Make sure you keep hydrated and drink plenty of water when you reach the halfway point. You might want to practice drinking on your training walks. The amount of fluid you need obviously varies depending on the weather. On a hot day it sometimes helps to pour a cupful of water over your head as well.
- Walk to work if possible
- Try exercising at different times of the day: before work, during lunch hour, after work.
- Try to recruit a workmate, friend or family member to join you.
- Don’t let rain deter you from going out for a walk or run.
- Dress accordingly.
- Any time you see a staircase, walk up or down instead of using the lift or escalator.
- Try skipping rope.
- Walk or jog on a treadmill, if available Swim or bicycle
Walking’s Fitness Benefits
How does walking affect the five components of fitness?
- Body composition – walking four times a week, 45 minutes each time, the average person can lose 18 pounds in a year with no change in diet, according to a study at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by director Dr. James Rippe.
- Cardiovascular fitness – walking can increase the strength of your heart and lungs, increase your ability not only to exercise longer and harder but also to perform everyday tasks without tiring.
- Flexibility – stretching exercises are vital to remaining injury free from injury. Stretching after exercise can help you stay loose.
- Muscular Endurance – all walkers develop a moderate amount of endurance, which enables them to exercise for a longer time before getting exhausted. A race walker has a higher endurance – comparable to that of a marathon runner.
- Muscular Strength – walking can help you gain some muscular strength but not enough for well-rounded fitness.
- Preventing injuries when walking - Everybody moves differently when they walk. There are three common mistakes found among all levels of walkers. Take notice of them because they will inhibit your style or cause injuries.
- Waist Lean – If you experience an ache in your back after you walk, you may be tilting forward and letting your buttocks stick out. Stand with your back against a wall. Now lean forward slightly from your ankles. This is the proper forward lean. Next try to lean forward, leaving your buttocks against the wall. This is not the position you want to feel while walking.
- Over striding – Does your hair bounce up and down when you walk? The way to eliminate the bounce and skim the ground usually means shortening your stride. Every time your heel hits the ground in a stride that’s too long, you’re breaking the forward motion. Experiment with different lengths. Find the equilibrium where you do not bounce.
- Elbow Whipping – The arm swing comes from the shoulder, not the elbow. You should imagine hitting something in front of you with your hands. Try this experiment: put a long piece of string around your neck and hold an end in each hand, making sure your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Now walk. If you feel the string sliding back and forth behind your neck that means you’re swinging from the elbows.
Enjoy yourself! Have fun and don’t worry about what time you do!