Faster Walking-4:43:45 Space Coast Marathon this past Sunday post 30

Discussion in 'Events/Competition' started by John VN, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    First things first, I am not an instructor, just a 62 year old guy with lots of arthritis who NEEDS to find ways of making my activities enjoyable and less painful. The methods I use work great for me and maybe for you too but as with anything new, it takes some time. It took me 1.5 years to achieve my current walking Half Marathon PR of 2:11:12 and a couple of months longer for my 5K PR of 28:10.9. While no where near fantastic times, I think they are not too shabby for a walking geezer. I wish I had someone point me in the following direction to start with because I believe it would have made things a little easier and clearer for me.

    Try this experiment....having someone next to you is helpful just in-case you start to fall. Watch the videos because they really help explain the bio-mechanics.

    With 10 feet of clear floor in front of you, stand barefoot, no socks please, with your butt and head against a wall or door and the heels of your feet about one inch away. Slowly bend at hips keeping your back straight and butt touching. Feel the pressure build in your toes, shins and hamstrings? If you are flexible you can bend very far without falling and that is good.

    Now resume the starting position but this time bend at the ankles, again keeping back straight as you slowly move away from the wall. You will reach a point when you will have to take short rapid steps forward to keep from falling. This is the principle of Chi Walking that I use to walk fast. Allowing gravity to help pull you forward reduces the amount of energy expended by your muscles needed to walk.

    Also notice that when you take the short steps they most likely will be a mid-sole strike instead of a heel-plant strike. Heel strike is hard on all the joints and bones and can cause many types of injuries.

    The application of this method of walking can be very hard for some to incorporate but I found that after a short time my body was actually more relaxed and I was walking faster using less effort to do so.

    Although the following videos are about running, just watching will help to understand the techniques as they apply to running AND walking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYNZUioUdHQ&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP_BWMrJ4pI&feature=related

    So, just wondering how was the experiment?
     
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  3. lisah0711

    lisah0711 <font color=red>♥ <font color=royalblue>her Disney

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    Thanks, John! I will be checking out these videos tonight. Panda Dave already helped my walking technique with his tips so I'm looking forward to adding to my walking arsenal. :goodvibes
     
  4. princessbride6205

    princessbride6205 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks John! I've been trying to do more of a Chi Walking technique for several months, but I have felt so awkward doing it that I haven't been very consistent. I've succeeded in adjusting my stride a little, but can't get all the way to the Chi Walking way so far.

    When you say mid-foot, what exactly are you landing on? The ball of your foot? I'm at a point where I'm almost landing flat foot, the sole of my heel touches the ground a split second before the rest.

    And when I've done the "walking faster because you're lean/falling", it feels like I'm landing really hard. I'm having trouble finding that balance between light on your feet and falling forward. Any advice?

    I took out the Chi Walking book from the library, so I will be looking at that this week.
     
  5. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    Dave's Race Walking, IMO, is poetry in motion but too technical for me. I enjoy walking my way without the restrictions that govern RW plus that heel plant kills me every time.

    My mid-foot could be considered by some as a flat foot but I have a touch of the ball of my feet before the heel. This occurs because I bring my feet forward at a very low height. By doing so the ball area tends to strike a fraction of a second sooner than the heel thus creating some additional shock absorption and eliminating that THUD landing. Dave, PANDA, once said it was like a shuffle and he is almost correct. A shuffle would have the foot touching as it was brought forward and mine is close but still has elevation.

    If you could walk barefoot on a shag carpet you would feel a shuffle walk. If you shuffle on grass that would also work. Shuffling on pavement would smart.

    Try keeping your feet closer to the ground as you bring them forward but do this at a slow speed at first.

    Good luck to all.
     
  6. longhorns2

    longhorns2 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks John! I would love to be a fast walker. I'm going to watch the videos in the AM.
     
  7. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    OK, the lean feels strange but you do not need to lean to walk fast!. :cool1:

    I needed to first explain the Chi Walking principle that has worked for me and now I can help you to walk faster without needing to relearn how to walk in a race.

    One very important element taken away from CW is the shorter stride that has the foot plant taking place under your body not out in front. When you plant out front you have to heel plant and that slows you down.

    Try this next experiment......

    Bare foot again in the house and standing tall with no lean. Just walk around and feel how your feet make first contact with the floor. Most people will heel plant. Now shorten your stride length a bit and try to plant with the rear area of the balls of your feet touching first, almost like a slap of the foot. The stride length should shorten and the shock sent up the leg should lessen. The new stride might feel funny but this is what will make you faster. Shoes on and go outside where you have straight, longer distances. Walk regularly with heel plant then shorten stride with mid-foot plant. More steps will be needed to cover the same distance but by preventing the shock from heel planting your body will actually be relaxing some muscles allowing you to quicken your pace a little. Overall, the faster pace will negate the shorter stride length resulting in more distance covered in the same amount of time.

    Please, don't try to make a total change next time out training, rather incorporate the new stuff now and then making sure to #1-feel what is different and #2-the change does not hurt you in any way.

    More to come. :)
     
  8. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    Thank you John for all of this great information. I am hoping to try it out. I have to get faster or I am in danger of being swept. At least I have more than a ear to train. My plan is to do the Princess half in 2014.
     
  9. debbieandroo

    debbieandroo DIS Veteran

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    John, as always, thank you for your help in this.

    Right now, I can tell that I am walking in a distinct form. Whether or not that form resembles chi-walking, I have no idea. At least I'm not all over the place, arms flailing about, like I was when I first started. Progress is very s-l-o-w.

    I will definitely try those exercises - thanks! What to do with my feet is continually a problem - your instructions make a lot of sense.

    Still looking for the sub-16 mm but I still have a few months to go before the Princess.
     
  10. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    Glad to read about the enthusiasm you-all are expressing in making strides towards improvement. Reading something and then implementing what you have read is often very difficult and the worse thing for me would be to have someone try to follow in my foot steps:-)lmao:) and become discouraged. Please respond if you have problems or don't understand. A PM is fine if you do not want to post.

    I know that many people can walk much faster than they think they can and a cool part about walking fast is passing others with the fluidity and stealthiness that is achieved from training in a way that has less injury causing impact when compared to running or jogging.

    Good luck and keep it fun!!!!
     
  11. irishtwins1112

    irishtwins1112 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the advice! I implemented the "leaning from the ankle and foot plant under the body" technique and was able to do between 12:30 and 14:30 on most of my walk breaks today. Normally I do between 15 and 17 minutes per mile on my walks:cool1:. It definitely feels different (i.e. works different muscles?) I ended up with a 15:05 avg pace for my 6 miles this morning. This is the first time I have ended up with a sub 16mm on an outside run and I really do think the walking technique helped tremendously.:grouphug:
     
  12. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    That is so cool to read! :thumbsup2 I park my car about as far away from a store's entrance as possible and shift into lean mode on the way in at times. Sure don't have to be technically out training to use it.

    Keep rocking!
     
  13. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    Efficient breathing is very important when working the body so here's my way...

    Different exertion requires different rhythms. When regularly walking you can simply breathe without structure, i.e. normal non-controlled inhale/exhaust.
    When training it is vital to supply your blood with adequate oxygen for the given effort and very easy to do so.

    I like to double shot inhale and exhale with foot plants when walking at a semi fast pace. For me that would be a 10mpm to 12mpm pace. When going faster I inhale on foot strike and exhale on next foot strike. Very important to add the extra oxygen when working the muscles harder. You have to be consistent with the transition from double to single and this takes time to figure it out.

    Think about a steam locomotive to simulate your breathing. The double shot will sound like a train leaving the station. Inhale with one foot strike and the next foot strike then exhale with the next two strikes using a puffing sound. Pronounce the letter O and with your lips in hat shape take short quick breathes then exhale short quick breathes. Make sure you breathe using your abdomen for intake and lungs for exhale. You can increase the frequency as you go faster but there comes a point that you must go to the in-out, in-out rhythm just to breathe adequately. It simply becomes very hard to double shot. Try this now at the computer so you can hear and feel the impact.

    With this technique it will also become easier to increase your speed by forcing you to quicken your foot strikes/cadence. Make your cadence match your puffing. Faster breathing-faster pace. The two MUST go together.
     
  14. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    The arm swing can help to speed you up or slow you down, tire you out and waste a bunch of energy.

    As shown in videos and mentioned by many instructors, the 90 degree bend is ideal for arm positioning. Another important factor in being efficient is how you move your arms as you walk.

    I keep my fists relaxed, slightly opened and use a short swing instead of the often seen punch-swing. A punch-swing is when a fist is formed, the backwards swing extends well past the torso and then the fist comes forward and is punched up to the sky. I'm pretty sure most people have seen this as a walker is making headway but the problem is it wastes energy. Any energy, calories, needed for muscles not being used to move forward, simply slows you down. Many walkers cross over in-front of their body with their hands also restricting air intake when inhaling, this too can slow you down.

    I swing my arms horizontally front to rear with very little side to side motion, only about 6 inches to 10 inches. Keeping these short swings allows a better coordination with the more rapid foot strikes resulting in faster paces.
     
  15. debbieandroo

    debbieandroo DIS Veteran

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    John, thank you! Why did I not think of this before? I have been using my arms when walking and have worked on not criss-crossing or over-swinging. But I had never thought of using my arms to help my legs move faster. I tried doing that this morning and it worked. Then I would get distracted and have to get back on track - oops!

    Now I need to work on making that coordination of arms and feet more of a habit. Thank you again, Coach John. :) That really will help with my cadence.
     
  16. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    You are very welcome, grasshopper.

    Again-congratulation on your half! :thumbsup2
     
  17. Never to old

    Never to old DIS Veteran

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    John just saw on another thread that you did over 82 miles in one week. Wow! That is incredible! Are you running or walking? I have incorporated your advice on how to move your arms correctly. I finally got down to 16.30 minute mile for 3 miles. Thanks for the advice
     
  18. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    Great job with your improved time! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

    Thanks for the smile you just put on my face but the 82 miles was bicycling miles not walking miles. I would LOVE to be able to pound the pavement for that many miles but not for this senior citizen and my sometimes non cooperative knees.
     
  19. lisah0711

    lisah0711 <font color=red>♥ <font color=royalblue>her Disney

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    John, I saw your McDonald's when I was running the Wine & Dine on Saturday. Kudos to you for willingly going down and then back up that ramp again! :thumbsup2

    Can you please talk a bit about cadence and ways to increase your turnover?

    I'm at the point where I am great on my endurance but my speed is lacking. I would like to do what I can to help increase that speed during the walking parts of my intervals before the Donald.

    Thanks for all of your helpful information! :flower3:
     
  20. John VN

    John VN DIS Cast Member

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    Going down the ramp was easy since good old gravity helped but that back up was not something I expected. STEEP and cambered made even harder with the McFlurry in hand. I made sure I found the best section of the road, inside edge, to reduce knee pressure and will be better prepared for the Mickey in January.

    I am fortunate in that many streets I walk have surveying marks at 50' increments. I used these markings for cadence improvement.

    If you can, measure off a few 50' sections on a straight road that you use for training. Approach the starting mark and count the number of steps for each 50' section. Doing this a few times at your normal pace should result in a fairly constant number of steps/50' section. You can also time the 50' sections as you walk or time the sections separately after obtaining your step count.

    Now you want to shorten your stride to increase the total number of steps in each 50' section but maintain the same length of time for each 50' section. This will force your muscles to react faster but since the stride is shorter you're not over-extending any muscle that could lead to an injury. After that feels comfortable you then need to reduce the time-frame for each 50' section. Combining the two will lead to a faster cadence that can then be ramped up to points of discomfort resulting in much faster pacing with lower impact on muscles and bones.

    Using your arm swing and breathing in co-ordination with steps will also quicken cadence. I move to my own internal beat/rhythm but many others use music to assist in their endeavour for speed. What ever floats your boat to get you faster.

    GOOD LUCK. :thumbsup2:thumbsup2
     
  21. longhorns2

    longhorns2 DIS Veteran

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    John- do you do the cadence? 90 beats per min like in this video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgueZ4FcsbQ&feature=related

    I tried the lean and arm swing on my run yesterday. I am running 3 min, walking 1 and my walks tend to be REALLY slow. My runs not all that great either- LOL But the walks were pretty sad.

    So I ran/walked my first mile as I normally do. Then the 2nd mile I decided to try the lean and arm swing. I only did this when I was walking, didn't even think to try to put that position into my run portion. Duh.

    Anyway--- I kept watching my garmin amazed at the speed it was giving me on the walks! Instead of dropping from a 11:30 min/mile pace for my run to a 16 min mile pace for the walk like I did in the first mile, I only dropped to a 13:30 min mile pace when I switched to the walk.

    And it felt good! I didn't feel like I was still running- I was certainly getting a "break" somehow. But the pace was comfortable and clearly a lot quicker than my previous walk pace.

    I finished my run 2+ min/mile faster than the first mile and felt a lot better while doing the run.

    Of course, this was one run one day. But I think this is really going to help me out! Thanks again for taking the time to share this.
     

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