It took me nearly 7 years of very gradual endurance building to be able to do the following exercise routine. Of course, all of this depends on how I’m breathing on a particular day. My exercise tolerance can vary sharply from hour to hour, and I usually don’t know how my lungs are going to react, till I get out there and try. Sometimes I’m so short of breath, I have a difficult time walking 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 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 indeed.
Even on “good” breathing days , any type of prolonged exertion can make my breathing worse, but over the years Ive learned not to let my breathlessness, scare me, control my life or stop me from exercising. Sure I get frustrated at times, but I pre-medicate, I pace myself and try to employ proper breathing techniques, and most importantly, 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.
*Cross training, 1 day per week,usually at gym. Core strengthening, bike, treadmill and light weights.
*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’ll generally spend about 3 months training for a full marathon and 2 months for a half marathon. 5 and 10 K races, one month.
I use a modified standard walk training schedule, similar to the one shown below. Equally important is to spend at least 3 hours a week cross training. ie, upper body workouts and core strengthening.
NOTE, As of 9-1-2011: Because I’m no longer training for marathons, I’m no longer doing the above workout and/or walking schedules. However, unless I’m in the hospital or really sick, I still walk a minimum of 2-3 miles every single day and will do so for as long as I can.
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 work for you. And if you’re interested in the sport of Racewalking, I highly recommend Dave Mc Govern’s racewalking clinics Good luck!