Be forewarned that this will probably be the most ridiculous training article you’ll read for a while. It’s probably worth mentioning again here on this blog that I have no formal running training and have never been coached.
Preamble aside, I’ve been working on my bottom end speed this week and have seen a large improvement in only 5 days. Now you’re probably wondering exactly what “bottom end” speed even is. Well, it’s the exact opposite of top end speed: walking. I’ve done the same 5.2 mile course each night after work and have seen my average pace go from 14:00 on Monday to 13:24 to 13:04 to 12:54 and then all the way down to 12:43 last night. Now it’s true that some of this is probably due to higher overall effort as my average heart rate was higher towards the end of the week, but I think most of the improvement is me just getting better at walking quickly.
I’m not entirely sure I’m even going about this the right way. There are thousands of articles about how to do speed running work, but there’s nothing out there for walking besides intro to fitness type programs which I’m a little beyond at this point. So I’m kinda winging it here. My goal is to get out and do 5 miles at least five times per week, more if I can fit it into my schedule. I don’t know if I should be alternating days or mixing up my mileage or adding extra weight. All I’m really doing is walking 5 miles as quick as possible with the race vest I’m planning on using at Olde 96er.
I knew early on that I was actually creating a training load when my thighs were a little sore the next day. It was a new location for my legs to be sore so I was obviously working some new muscles, which was good. This was nothing major; just a little tightness that didn’t cause any problems. This soreness would flare up a bit as I started each subsequent day’s walk and my right calf would let me know it was being overworked a bit as well. Eventually, these issues would go away as I warmed up even though I kept pushing the paces a bit. And yesterday I didn’t have any soreness at all as I started my walk.
So I’m very encouraged that what I’m doing is working. So far. At least over five miles. I have no idea if this will translate into faster times in the back half of a hundred, but I figure this is a low risk method of training for me only 3 weeks out from Eastern States. Probably the worst case scenario is that I’m wasting an hour each evening for no benefit come race day. But training is really just an experiment of one and I can definitely stand to do some more experimentation with my training. I get so locked in to my weekly routine that it’s good that I’m mixing things up a little bit. Not everything is guaranteed to be successful, but who knows. Maybe I’ll stumble upon the one trick that really does the job for me. It would be pretty ironic if the one thing that really improves my running is walking. I guess stranger things have been known to happen.