Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Race walking

From Fitness Walking
I'm taking a two-day clinic on race walking, taught by Cindy Paffumi, a local fitness instructor here in Bellingham. I got interested in this because of attending her free Saturday morning walks, which I heard about from two of the regular Senior Trailblazers. (This illustration is for fitness walking, but it shows what I learned yesterday.)

It all started out pretty innocently. About 15-20 women (with the occasional man) meet at 8:00am every Saturday morning and walk anywhere from 3 to 7 miles. Although most of them aren't seniors, these women cover the gamut from out-of-shape young mothers to in-shape mature women. My first time with them was on New Year's Day (the link goes to my post about it) and what surprised me was how fast they were walking! When I learned that Cindy could racewalk at around 8-minute miles, I was shocked at how slow my natural walking pace is. I figured I could learn in her mini-clinic how to improve my speed.

Although I have no intention of spending all of my time racewalking, in the first clinic last night I learned some techniques to improve my speed: first of all, using my arms like pistons, and shortening up my stride and quickening my pace immediately helped me to walk faster. We met at a quarter-mile track and 20 of us women walked around the track a time or two, trying out the tips she gave us. Then she timed us for a half-mile as we attempted to become faster. My time was 7:12, or a 14:24-minute mile. Not bad, considering that on the previous walks I would walk and jog a little to keep up, and yesterday I only walked.

Today I walked around to and from the gym in racewalking mode, pumping my arms and lengthening my stride behind me, not in front of me, striking the ground with my heel and pushing off with my toes. Now my shins are sore, and I think I might have looked a little funny, judging from the looks I got, but I'm quite pleased that I am learning new tricks at my age! No comments about old dogs, now!


  1. I only wish I were able to Race Walk with you.
    My knees are weak, my back weak, a willing spirit does that count ?
    I 'spect I wore my parts out running after horses.
    You forever amaze me with your stamina.

  2. DJan, I can't believe all these physical activities you're doining at this age.

    I walked for 30 minutes today and thought that was good. My daughter tells me I've got to get some walking shoes because of the heel issue you talked about. I'm currently walking in my SAS clogs. I wear a size 12 AAAA shoe so it is difficult to find shoes. I may wind up with some SAS because I know they fit and will be comfortable.

    It's just great what you're doing.

  3. Man! you are on ambitious lady!! i would be afraid of throwing out a hip!

  4. Wow again. but on this one I won't be joining you. I used to walk much faster, about 12 minute miles. Now I still think I'm walking fast, because it still feels like as much work, but I'm just not able to go nearly as fast. Old dog?

  5. That's the inspiration I need! Great to meet you!

  6. I don't enjoy walking, period. Did too much of that when I was single and had no car. I bought my first car at age 33 and since then I drive instead of walk.

  7. Woman...carry on! Are you preparing for a marathon haha? Practice makes perfect DJ and I won't wonder when I hear you're into a walking marathon! Good job!

    I am cleaning the attic right now, I don't want to turn the computer on 'cos it will delay my housework but I still did! I peeked on the dashboard and find some interesting blogs today! Well I think it's blog now and work later.


  8. Awesome...what kind of walking shoes do you recommend? The newer styles feel like I'm wearing the box the shoes came in. I miss my Keds. They were like walking on air!
    Thanks for the mini lesson poster.

  9. You're just a jock, you know. And I mean that as high praise. :) I love to watch all your activities. I think I burn about three calories.

  10. I just assumed that shortening one's stride would slow the pace. I'll have to try some of these tips when I walk the dog; I'm sure he'd enjoy a faster pace. These tips also would have come in handy all those times I zipped my way from one concourse to the other trying to make a connecting flight!

  11. You do have amazing stamina for a woman of any age, I'm always looking to see what you will do next. I mean that in a very good way.

    I will try to follow some of those tips on my next walk, it wouldn't hurt me to pick up my pace a bit.

  12. cool! I'll have to try it out once my ankle is strong enough to let me walk at a "normal" pace (which is already fast for most people), let alone speeding things up... ;o)


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