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Why Not Walk a Marathon?
By: Joann Bally CSCS
If long distance walking is your favorite way to stay in shape, why
walk a marathon?
Most large marathons welcome walkers. Boston is an
exception. They have a minimum qualifying time which, with rare
exceptions, can only be reached by runners. The Los Angeles Marathon
has many walkers each year, and so does San Diego, which gives them an
earlier starting time. The Portland Marathon is especially friendly
walkers, and so are many others, but you probably don't want to choose a small,
out-of-the-way race for your first try, or you may get awfully lonely before you
The Training Methodology is Simular
The marathon is 26.2 miles, whether you walk or run, so you can train
similarly to the way runners do. Increase your mileage by no more
10% per week. Your most important walk is one long one each week, or
every second week, which most people do on the weekend. You can
complete a marathon with 40-50 miles of training per week at the end
the training period.
Choose a good training schedule set out for
runners, and do the same mileage, but walk it. Don't choose a
that has you going for a certain amount of time--you won't be going as
far as the runners if you do.
There are a number of good books for
marathon training. Jeff Galloway's is probably the most popular. You
can also get good information from magazines such as Runner's World.
you're a newcomer to long distances, choose your marathon and give
yourself about 6 months to train properly. If you're already walking
or 10 miles at a time, it won't take you as long to get ready.
A True Hero
Finishing a marathon is a great accomplishment, whether you run or
You don't have to do this kind of distance for optimum fitness
the training will certainly get you in good shape. The biggest
from the marathon itself is psychological, not physical.
runners, you will get a marathon shirt, a finisher's medal, and
rights over your sedentary friends.
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