Take a look at the results page of our website and you’ll discover that every weekend since the end of August there have been WoW Power Walkers claiming finish medals at the end of some half or full marathon.
The half marathon is clearly the winner in terms of popularity. And why not. In so many ways, it’s the perfect distance to race.
First, it’s a challenge. Walking 21.1 kilometers, as fast as you can, is not something people can do on a whim. It takes several months of dedication, self discipline and, more often than not, a cadre of crazy friends to stick with a training plan.
Second, it’s a great workout. When you walk 21.1 kilometres, as fast as you can, your heart pumps faster, your capillaries learn how to deliver more oxygen to your muscles, your muscles get stronger. You just become a stronger and faster human being.
Third, your risk for injury is much lower than training and walking a full marathon. It’s elementary. Half the distance, half the chance for injury.
Finally, you always get a medal. Within minutes of finishing a half marathon, there is a piece of hardware swinging from your neck. Sometimes it’s even the same size as that of the marathon!
As far as I can tell, there’s only one downside to the half marathon and that is the potential for complacency in the days leading up to the race for veteran marathon walkers, and even veteran half marathon walkers. It’s that tendency to downplay what is a considerable challenge because we’ve done it before or because it’s half the distance of that marathon we completed a few months ago.
21.1 kilometers is, and always will be, a long way to walk as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter how many half marathons or marathons you have walked, you must always treat your body with respect in the days before the race.
You need to eat an adequate amount of good food that includes an appropriate proportion of protein, carbohydrates, and fat; drink adequate fluids (the most important macronutrient), rest your body, and prepare your mind.
So, if you are reading this blog and you are walking Angus Glen this weekend, start now. Step back from the everyday rush to look after yourself this week. Make the most of the effort you have put into all those training walks in recent months by preparing both body and mind in this last stretch to the finish line.
It will be worth it.