Why I quit running and trained to walk a half-marathon

carrera1When I tell my friends I am training for Sunday’s NYC Half marathon, they usually admire my efforts and wish me luck.

Then I add I am walking the route from Central Park through Times Square to South Street Seaport on March 20, and I detect a huge drop in their enthusiasm. They don’t say it, but I clearly hear: “Big whoop. I can do that.”

Maybe they can just roll out of bed and walk 13.1 miles, but I doubt it. I couldn’t. With no training, it’s hard on the feet and the psyche.

I’ve been running short distances for the past couple of months. I’ve done a few official races, mostly in Central Park and Prospect Park, and I swore to myself I’d do a marathon. In 2015, I ran 9 races — it was a goal I set. As I continued to train these past months, a lingering shin splint injury made me anxious about running a such a long race this spring.

When training time rolled around, and the shin splints pain came back… Regardless of how much I rested, changed shoes and allowed my legs to heal … I couldn’t bear the thought of spending two cold months running outside. . So even though I was proud to run 9 races last year, I surrendered to my reality and my body and convinced myself it was OK to walk a half marathon. I would still train for it, have a goal, be part of the event and get the benefits of walking, but without the toll on my body.

I admit when I first considered walking, I thought to myself “Big deal” as well. I’m guilty of being judgmental about walking also. A few years ago “My Comadre Adriana (Alejandro’s God Mother)” trained to walk 60 miles over three days to raise breast cancer awareness (60 miles!), and I wondered — “You have to train for that?” I was so ignorant!!!Well soon enough I learned walking 13.1 miles isn’t as easy as it seems. However, I discovered that in some ways training to walk a half-marathon is harder (time consuming) than running one. Walking isn’t just a stroll in the park: You have to focus on walking at a good clip or you slow to an ambling mode. My goal was to walk a 10-minute mile, but my average is closer to 15-minute miles.Not surprisingly, walking takes so much longer. Your training schedule dictates a five-mile run on Tuesday? That should take less than an hour, easier to get in before work, but walking those five miles can take more than and hour and a half.I followed one of many 16-week training schedules online — my first workout was a single mile, and boy did I feel dumb putting that on Facebook, but the weekly long walk got longer until it expanded to a 12-miler, two weeks before the run.

For tips about walking a half-marathon, I turned to a NYRR trainer . “It’s not about how hard you train, but how smart you train,” he told me.

He directed me to stretch 15 minutes daily to improve recovery time (I was bad at this), do lunges and squats for muscle endurance, do sit-ups and planks to strengthen my core for improved posture and to prevent lower back pain, and, finally, do jumping jacks and burpees (similar to a squat thrust with a jump at the end) for cardiovascular endurance.

Getting in shape is my goal! And is a work in progress…

When I cross the finish line at Wall Street, I’ll treat my self to a glass a bubbly and a full body massage!!!! Pray for me so I will make it alive. 😛 😛



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