I wrote this blog post 11 years ago, and while I’m no longer able to racewalk or do 6 mile walks everyday, my observations back then were spot on and still hold true today.
The more I walk the more I learn, especially about my lungs and how they react to sustained, but controlled physical exertion. Prior to my debut into the world of fitness and racewalking, I had just about accepted the fact that while I was able to condition myself to walk considerable distances, I would NEVER be able to exceed a certain pace without throwing myself into severe bronchospasm.
Yesterday , in the middle of my usual 6 miler, I broke out into a racewalk tempo and kept it up for a little more than a 1/2 mile without my lungs complete closing up on me. I did however, experience a significant degree of air-trapping , but I was able to effectively reduce some of that discomfort with controlled breathing techniques. More importantly, I was able to recover from that racewalking volley without loosing all of my momentum . I was able to continue on with my walk without stopping to catch my breath. My average pace during that racewalking segment was only in the 10:00 range, but I was able to sustain it for nearly 9 minutes.
I know this pace was slow by racewalking standards, but when you consider that just last year, I actually blacked out while jogging only 100 feet, then I’d say its quite an achievement. It also takes away some of the anxiety I’ve had about pushing myself too hard.
This all leads me to believe that with persistent and well thought out training , I can indeed increase my walking pace significantly ( at least intermittently) without making my breathing worse. I also see now that no matter how messed up your lungs are, if you have the determination to do something, you will find away to adapt.