As a runner, all you want to do is run, with the wind in your hair and spring in your feet. The idea of someone calling you a jogger sends chills down your bones. And walking? You consider this an activity worthy of your time only once you’ve crossed the finish line or, God forbid, hit the wall. After all, you’re a runner and walking is for beginners and the injured, right? Wrong!
Most runners underestimate the power of walking. Not only does a good walk speed up recovery, it can also improve your endurance and make you a better runner, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran runner with umpteen marathons or ultras to boast about.
Here’s why and how you should add walks to your training and recovery routine.
The repetitive nature of running makes muscles prone to injury if you do too much of it. Also, instead of getting stronger, the body will adapt to these repetitions. Walking gives your leg muscles a much need break from running while still making them work. It builds strength in key muscle groups involved in running, including glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calf muscles without putting them at the risk of injury.
Keep your posture naturally and comfortably upright when you walk. Take small steps to keep your stride short and avoid aches and pains from over-striding. Walking helps you become conscious of your form, and this is particularly effective when you use the run-walk-run technique. The way you walk often reveals the problems in your running form. Do you get injured often? Focus on your gait when you walk.
Adding long, brisk walks to your training routine can help you build endurance without putting too much pressure on your joints or causing wear and tear in your muscles like running does. Walking long distances not only adds to leg and feet strength, but it also reduces stress on the joints and increases lung capacity, which is helpful for your running too. So if you want to build your running endurance without worrying about injuries, add walking long distances to your training routine.
On days that you substitute your run with a walk, double the time. So if you were planning to run for 30 minutes, walk for 1 hour. Do you know what’s the best part about this? You can split your walk workout in parts — go for a 30-min walk in the morning and one in the evening. Walking is a low-impact activity that works every single leg muscle and directly improves their strength and endurance. The muscle movements involved in walking also strengthen the tendons and ligaments on the lower body.
Walking aids recovery by increasing blood flow and circulation in the leg muscles. It also keeps injuries at bay by shaking up your running routine. To get the best of walking on non-running days, walk at a brisk pace but keep it conversational. If you’re out of breath, you’re probably running! Feel free to do a 30-60 minute walk at a stretch if you have the time else break it down into shorter segments throughout the day.
When it comes to running, faster isn’t always better. If you focus only on running fast and long all the time, you will get injured sooner or later. To ensure that you slow down from time to time, add walking to your running routine. Also add strength and conditioning to your training routine to improve your overall athletic performance. With live online training at ImStrong, you can train right at home with an expert running coach.