It took me nearly 3 years of very gradual endurance building to be able to do the following exercise routine. As is the case for most chronic lungers, my exercise tolerance can vary sharply from day to day, and I usually don’t know how my lungs are going to react till I get out there and get moving. Sometimes I’m so short of breath, I have a difficult time making it from my bedroom to the living room. Other times I can walk 10 miles without taking a break.
Additionally, suffering even a mild flare-up can put me out of commission for a week or more. And severe exacerbations , especially the ones that land me in the hospital, can result in missing an entire month…or more of training. When that happens, I pretty much have to start all over from scratch….very frustrating to say the least.
Even on “good” breathing days, any type of prolonged exertion can make my breathing worse, but over the years my body has adapted and Ive learned not to let my breathlessness scare me, control my life, stop me from exercising or doing what I like to do. Sure I get frustrated at times, but I take precautions, I prepare properly, I pace myself, I try to employ proper breathing techniques and not over-do it, but most important, I never give up!
*5 mile walk routine , 3 days per week as above, with the addition of a 5 mile tempo walk on one of those days.
*Long slow distance walk, (LSD) one day per week. Alternating a high mileage walk one week , with a slightly lower mileage recovery walk the next week.
*Rest days, 2 per week. Usually the day before the LSD and the day after.
I generally spend about 3-4 months training to prepare for a full marathon and 2 months for a half marathon. When training for marathon, I use a modified walk schedule, similar to the one shown below.
Equally important for those interested in running or walking a marathon, is to spend at least 3 hours a week cross training ( ie, upper body workouts and core strengthening), though I admit Im not very compliant in this area anymore, as it takes too much out of me.
When Im not training for a marathon, I still try to walk 1-3 miles 5 or 6 days a week.
I encourage everyone out there who is considering walking a half or full marathon, to use the above walking schedule as a general guideline. If you stick to the plan, you WILL finish your marathon. If it worked for me, it can certainly work for you. And if you’re interested in the Olympic sport of Racewalking, I highly recommend you check out Dave Mc Govern’s racewalking clinics Good luck!