Completing your weekly homework is essential to reaching your fitness goals. You cannot expect to reach your goals by walking just once a week with the group on Saturday morning. Being fit is all about repetition and training your body at regular intervals during the week. In addition to becoming aerobically fit, you need to build the muscles in your feet, legs, arms, shoulders and the rest of your body. This is done through repetition. Otherwise, you could risk being injured.
Warm up before you head out.
As with any aerobic activity, warm up for a few minutes before heading out on your walk. You are given a few simple warm-up and flexibility exercises in this packet. Always start your walk SLOWLY and gradually increase to your normal walking pace. Your pace will become faster over time. Pushing yourself beyond your limit too soon will result in injuries!
Saturday Walks are for Endurance.
Long Saturday walks are important. They prepare your body for longer periods of time on your feet. We will eventually walk five miles … or 10,000 steps. Right now, your Saturday pace will be slower than your homework pace. The slower Saturday pace will greatly reduce the possibility of injury and also speeds the recovery process.
Don’t let your ego interfere with proper training.
It can be difficult to slow your pace on the longer Saturday walks. There’s a little voice inside your head that keeps telling you to go faster. Well, that little voice is wrong! Your breathing should be elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. A rule of thumb that works for most people is... If you cannot talk you are walking too fast, if you can carry a tune you are walking too slow. Don’t let your ego interfere with proper training and your ultimate fitness goals.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
This simply means drink plenty of water. If your urine is not clear or very lightly colored when you arise Saturday morning, then you did not drink enough water the day before. It may be too late to properly hydrate, but you can assist your body nonetheless. Drink eight to 16 ounces of water when you get up Saturday morning, then another eight to 16 ounces 15 minutes before your walk. Then drink four to eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise. If you wait until you’re thirsty, it will be too late. This is particularly important during hot summer days.
Stretch after you walk.
After every walk, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles. This will become increasingly important when you increase your mileage. In this packet, you are given a few stretching exercises. We will actually do the exercises as a group on Saturday. Also do the same exercises after your homework walks. Don’t stretch cold muscles. Wait until AFTER your walk.
Take care of your feet.
Make sure you are wearing the correct walking shoe for your feet, type of exercise program you will be using them for, and gate. The best place to select your shoes in Redlands is The Running Center. All staff members there are seasoned and accomplished runners and athletes. They will actually have you try on shoes and observe you walking in the store. Be prepared to spend some time picking out your shoes. Don’t be surprised if you try as many as six different pairs of shoes on before you find the correct shoe for you!
Typically, a walking shoe will be a whole size larger than your regular street shoe (i.e.: Your regular shoe could be Size 8 and your walking shoe Size 9). You will also find that manufacturer sizing differs. Some walking shoes run smaller or larger than others based on design and brand. The rule of thumb … literally … is that when you stand in your walking shoes, you should have a full thumb’s width between the end of your big toe and the end of your shoe. Also, you can wear a running shoe for walking as long as it has a lower profile heel. For walking, you don’t want a running shoe with a higher heel and forward pitch.
The life of a running/walking shoe is usually 400-500 miles.
NO COTTON SOCKS! Cotton socks cause blisters. Wear socks that will wick moisture away from your feet. Some people prefer thin socks. Some people like a thicker, more padded sock. Just keep in mind that your feet will swell, so you don’t want a sock that is too thick. But by the same token, you don’t want your foot to slide around in your shoe.
Make sure your toenails are regularly trimmed. Long toenails and long walks do not go together! If your toenails are too long, the impact of your feet hitting the pavement can cause trauma and damage to your toes and toenails.