As a coach I am constantly asked to produce individualized race walking training schedules. Developing such programs requires me to consider a great many factors while leaving room for flexibility as each athlete progresses through his or her schedule. So, how can I sit down and write up one training program appropriate for every race walker reading this book? The answer is, I can’t. Instead, I need to write hundreds of pages of training schedules, all based on the same theories and mathematical extrapolations that factor into a program after someone describes his or her goals and current fitness level.
Since including hundreds of pages of training schedules in one book is cost-prohibitive, here we take a different path. This section explains the methodology underlying the varied workouts that make up a schedule; it also guides you through a sample schedule for a walker who wishes to race a 10K in 50 minutes.
Once you understand the information presented here, either write your own schedule or use one of the approximately 100 schedules available on the Race Walk Like a Champion DVD. The DVD allows you to select your targeted race distance and desired finishing time. It then presents a series of training schedules, similar in form to the sample below, guiding you day by day through your training cycle. If you meet the prerequisites for the program and use some common sense in picking your goals, you should be able to follow the program with a reasonable amount of effort. Trust that following your schedule will lead you to achieve your goals.
If you find as you progress through the schedule that you cannot recover quickly enough from workout to workout, you are probably attempting a training program for which you are not adequately prepared. Shift to a slower schedule at the same race distance, but try not to do the opposite if you find the schedule too easy. If you try to shift to a harder program mid-schedule, you will be unprepared for the increased intensity and duration and thus increase your risk of injury. The exception to this rule is if you attend a clinic or get individualized expert advice. In those cases, improving your technique and increasing your efficiency might enable you to shift to a more aggressive training program.
Go Out and Walk
The most universally accepted training philosophy for successful race walking is, if you want to be a successful race walker, you need to go out and race walk. Getting up every morning and crunching one hundred sit-ups or pumping out fifty push-ups will not dramatically improve your walking time. Specificity of exercise is the key to improvement. While other exercises help your race walking, nothing helps as much as race walking itself. Think of adding additional exercises as a catalyst for improving an existing race walking program, not as a program in and of itself.