Long distance walking can be a great way to get exercise and it can also be done for a good cause, such as a charity challenge walk. If you are going to be attempting to tackle a very long walk, you will want to train so that you build up your level of fitness and endurance. If you can build up your pace you will be able to cover ground more quickly and complete the long distance walk in less time.
Improving your walking pace comes with practice and over time you will gradually improve your fitness. Not only will you be able to complete the charity walk in less time, but you will also get a much better cardiovascular workout and you will burn more calories. You will build muscle in your hips and ankles, as well as working out your upper body.
So how can you boost your walking speed? Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing for your next charity walk.
Maintain Good Posture
In order to walk faster, it is important to maintain the right posture. You should keep your chin up, your shoulders relaxed and your head level. Your back should be straight and you should be looking ahead. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at the elbow with a fist that is closed but not clenched too tightly.
When you step forward with one leg, you can swing your opposite arm in sync with your stride. Keep your arms tucked in close to your ribs and when you swing your arm forward, keep your elbow below chest level and don’t let your arms cross the centre point on your body. Your hips should be in line with your shoulders and they will naturally rotate when you are walking briskly.
Do Not Over-stride
Some people believe that taking bigger strides will help them to walk faster. However, it only makes your stride unnatural and will actually slow you down. Also, over-striding can potentially be damaging for your back.
It is better to take smaller and more natural strides, just to do them more quickly. Push off with your toes and land on your heel, rolling through the step and using the natural spring in your calf muscle to propel you forward.
Build Up Your Pace
Starting several weeks before the long distance charity challenge, start going on walks and gradually increasing your speed. Try to cover the same amount of distance in a shorter time, then try to beat that time again. You can measure this by taking the same route every time and noting the time when you start and finish. Or, if you have an activity tracker such as a Fitbit you can keep track of your distance and speed when you are walking and see how you are improving.
Try to build up your speed to the point where you are only able to speak in short sentences while you are walking. Try to walk at this pace for as much for your distance goal as possible, before ending your training walk with a good stretch and a cool down exercise. Yoga can also be a great way to stretch your body and lengthen your muscles after a big walking workout.
Don’t Forget Recovery Days
When you are training in this way, it’s important to have a couple of days per week when you take a break from walking. Your body needs to recover so that your muscles have a chance to rebuild themselves.
Also, as the charity challenge walk approaches it is a good idea to include a taper period where you slow down the pace of your training so that your body can prepare for the event.
These are just a few of the ways that you can increase your pace when long distance walking. It takes some time, but after a while you will be able to build up your stamina and your speed and you will be a lean, mean, walking machine. When it comes to completing any charity walk or long distance walking challenge, you will be able to power through it in record time!