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.)

WeekMTWThFSatSunTotal Weekly Mileage
1033433521
2033533623
3033633725
4033733827
5033833929
60439331032
705310331135
806311331238
907312331341
1008313331445
1109314331549
12010315331653
1308310331249
140538331032
15333333321

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!

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