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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Training - what I did different this year and how it's going...

I know I know...  I've been slacking a little on my blog lately...  But I'm back!

Now that I am done (can I get a woot woot!!!) my major fundraising since I've reached my minimum (not altogether done, just helping others now and looking toward next year...) I can focus on the other half of the 3 day experience: training.  We are now less than 12 weeks away from the event, and training really starts getting important!!

So I wrote last year about what I did to train for my first 3 day and what worked and what didn't.  So what am I doing different this year?  Well...
Last year back to back training walk

I signed up to do the 2011 DC walk a lot earlier than I signed up for the 2010 walk, so I was able to start training much earlier.  Was I smart and did I keep walking the whole year to stay in shape?  Of course not!  I returned to couch potato for quite a few months, and gained quite a few pounds in the process.  So when I joined the YMCA in January, I had my work cut out for me.  I got over my "fear" (I kept picturing myself tripping over my own feet, crashing face first into the machine, then getting thrown off the back.  And of course this would be seen by a room full of people at the gym...) and got on a treadmill for the first time that month, and walked about 3 - 3.5 miles start.  It was nice to have a place to walk that early in the year, because I don't do cold.  There is no way I would walk outside before the end of March/ beginning of April.  And I don't LIKE it till probably the end of April/ beginning of May!  So the treadmill helped me out enormously.    I am hoping to keep up on my YMCA membership so that I can still walk in the winter months again at the end of this year/ beginning of next year.

I was really hoping that walking a few times per week would help me shed the 15-20 lbs I wanted to lose.  No such luck.  My husband kept telling me that I needed to start running if I wanted to lose the weight, but I didn't want to do that.  Running in the past has helped me lose weight but also has given me shin splints and tendinitis problems, and who wants to walk 60 miles with those problems?!?!  And what if I hurt my knees and then CANT do the walk?!?!  I wanted no part of that!  But as the weeks went by and my husband was losing his weight and I lost nothing, I decided to try it.  So I began running 3-5 miles twice per week, and finally lost 13 lbs.

Still wearing my knee brace, but feeling fine!
I got a bonus that I didn't expect as well.  When I finally started doing training walks outside with my team mates and steadily increasing the miles, I didn't get sore muscles the way I did last year.  Running got my leg muscles in such good shape that even increasing to 12 mile walks did not make me have sore muscles!  That was great!  I remember being sore last year quite a bit, especially after doing an increase in mileage.  Now I did have painful shins with running and I started having left knee pain, so I did stop running at the beginning of June.  I still was a little afraid that I would hurt myself and either not be able to do the walk or do it with more pain than walking 60 miles already gives you.   And I am happy with that decision to stop because my knee is starting to feel a little less pain when I do my training walks and my shins feel completely normal again.  So even though I have started gaining my weight back again (sigh) I believe I will not jog again till after the walk in September.  Some things are more important to me than how I look...  But I definitely will run again, since it really did get my legs in shape and help with my endurance.  I recommend it, though I would listen to your body if it starts telling you to stop.

I guess another thing that is helping me with endurance is the fact that this time I am training SMOKE FREE!! Though of course I did not smoke on training walks nor did I even bring cigarettes on the 3 day, I still was a smoker.  :(  But I made a deal with my husband when I wanted to sign up to do the walk this year, and the deal was that I could walk again IF I finally quit smoking.  Well I had been unable to totally quit though I had cut back to only a few cigarettes a day, till then.  So I haven't had one since, and that's been MANY months!!!  YAY ME!!

How funny that they recommended the same shoes for each of us!!!
And lastly one of the things I did differently this year is go to a running store to get fitted for shoes that would best suit me and the way I walk.  Last year I tried on a million different shoes and found the ones I like best on my own.  This year I decided to try having someone help me.  The funny thing is that the shoe store picked out almost the same pair I chose for myself last year!  So I guess I did something right last year.  But what I did not do that may have led to the large blisters I got on last year's walk is get another new pair 1 month before the event.  I didn't realize how quickly training will wear out your shoes and that after the shoes have been used for their "max mileage" they will be much more likely to give you blisters as well as not perform as well.  Lesson learned.  This year I am getting another pair in August so they will be fresh yet broken in for my big back-to-back walk as well as the event.  Hopefully this will mean no more blisters!!!  (Hey, a girl can dream can't she?)  Now if I could just find the right socks...  I am still battling with those...

One of the things I did the same as last year was doing for the most part only 2 walks per week.  With working full time and 4 kids, I just can't do much more than that.  So like last year I am trying to do one long walk with increasing miles and one shorter 5-6 mile walk per week.  I truly wish I had the chance to do more, but that just isn't an option for me.  But I felt pretty prepared for last year using this method so I believe I will be ok with it again this year.  This year I definitely increased my mileage faster though, and so did 10-13 mile walks much sooner in my walking schedule than last year, and I am happy I did.  I feel like we went form 10 to 20 miles too quickly last year with not enough walks in between to work up to it and get used to it.  Hopefully the extra months of the 12-15 mile walks will help us in the endurance dept. this time around.

Well I still have 12 weeks of training walk to go!  Wish Me and The Girls luck!  And on that note, I am off for  a solo 12 mile walk!
Me and The Girls on a Gettysburg training walk

1 comment:

  1. How was your 12-mile solo walk last year? I'm sure you finished that momentous challenge. I hope your body, especially your knees, is still in good condition and ready for your next pace. Are you planning to go on another long-distance walk?

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