Race Walking – training for my first half marathon

Apart from endorphins, one of the things I loved about long distance running was the way it clarified things for you.  Whenever I had a problem or couldn’t get my head around something I was writing, I would go for a run and within no time things would click into place.  I’ve missed that since my running career ended as I have’nt really found a substitute for running.

Enter race walking.

One of the first rules of race walking is to keep one foot on the ground at all times.  One of the first rules an Orthopaedic surgeon will give you for your new knee is to keep one foot on the ground at all times.  Knee replacements and race walking then seem to be a match made in heaven.

Post op I tried what I thought was race walking for a short while.  Obsessed with times and trying to get my old running form back, I only succeeded in giving myself an injury and looking silly as I minced around the Surfers Paradise walking paths.

Now that I have started running coaching, I thought it would be a good idea to re-live what it felt like to be a novice because in race walking terms, I am a completely out of my depth.

I’ve decided to train for a half marathon, hopefully in October.  While I can probably walk a half marathon now, ambling along and race walking are two entirely different things.  Marathons and half marathons have strict cut-off times and many do not allow walkers.  This means that in order enter and walk one, I need to be confident that I can walk faster than the slowest runners. This is no mean feat and I am nowhere close to that now.

As I discovered this morning, apart from the odd looks you get practising your gait, race walking is HARD. Form is everything and requires intense focus.  The minute your mind starts drifting off you lose form and that little voice from Mapmyrun will tell you that your pace has dropped off.

This week I have lowered my walking pace from a tortoise-like 11:42 mins per km to 9:42 mins per km over a hilly course. To be a contender to walk in the big events I have to get down into the 7s.  There is a long way to go. If I can achieve my goal, the perhaps one day I will return to walk the Two Oceans Marathon, my favourite and last race.  It’s good to have dreams.

Stats for today are as follows:  6km in 58 mins.  Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 21s. They are very old and super comfortable. During my running years I never ran in Mizuno. Today I’m ready to embrace new things and I kind of like the idea of a clean slate.  New challenges. New shoes. New Pbs. New page.

“Don’t be afraid to show your scars – you’ve earned them.”


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