Preparing your body for a marathon

Q: I will be doing a three-day, 55-mile walk in October to benefit breast cancer. I’m currently walking about an hour a day. Can you offer any suggestions for preparing to walk such a long distance?

A:

It sounds like you’ll be walking about 18 miles each day. Depending on how fast you walk that comes out to about five to six hours of walking a day. Here’s a sample training schedule that should safely prepare you for the event. (I’m assuming that you’re walking at about three miles per hour. Therefore, you’re walking about 21 miles a week. I’ve designed the schedule to increase from there. If you’re doing more you can start at the appropriate week that matches your current mileage.)

Week M T W Th F Sat Sun Total Weekly Mileage
1 0 3 3 4 3 3 5 21
2 0 3 3 5 3 3 6 23
3 0 3 3 6 3 3 7 25
4 0 3 3 7 3 3 8 27
5 0 3 3 8 3 3 9 29
6 0 4 3 9 3 3 10 32
7 0 5 3 10 3 3 11 35
8 0 6 3 11 3 3 12 38
9 0 7 3 12 3 3 13 41
10 0 8 3 13 3 3 14 45
11 0 9 3 14 3 3 15 49
12 0 10 3 15 3 3 16 53
13 0 8 3 10 3 3 12 49
14 0 5 3 8 3 3 10 32
15 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 21

This schedule is designed to increase your workout by only 10% a week, which is a safe level that should protect you from injury. However, if you do begin to have any pain, ease up a bit. If it doesn’t go away, see your doctor before you continue training.

A few more important tips:

  • Don’t walk the day before the event.
  • Wear walking shoes that are in good shape. Since you’ll be logging lots of miles, it may be a good idea to use two pairs, alternating days that you wear each. Don’t wear a brand new pair of sneaks for the event, otherwise you could be in for blisters or other types of foot pain.
  • Stretch after you walk.Good luck and let me know how you do!

What you have in your mind?