I am doing my best to work hard and stay fit during this period of forced cross training. Age has definitely mellowed me, as in the past when I couldn't run I was miserable. Cross training was torture. Now I find it a challenge to be creative in my workouts and a joy to be moving however I can! I've been doing fast uphill walking on the treadmill for the past few days and today I'm going to take the show to the woods!
I am planning a long fast walk in the rain. I can't go on rough trails in the mountains, I have to stick to the gentle terrain of the snow mobile trails and tote roads. Fast walking is a skill that can come in handy in a hundred mile race. So many runners in these events have a great pace and rhythm while running, but just shuffle along without making much progress during their walk breaks. It is no coincidence that many of the most successful one hundred mile runners are also avid hikers. Only practice can make a person efficient.
The first time I ever paced at a hundred miler, I paced a woman who had won Leadville several times. She was an awesome runner. But every time she took a walk break on a long climb or over rough footing, the other runners, who were also walking those stretches, would leave her in their dust. She lamented, "I'm just not a fast walker." When I asked if she ever walked in training, she said no, only during 100 mile races. She didn't even hike. She ran her training runs on trails where she didn't need to take walk breaks. Walking uses a whole different system of body mechanics than running does. It takes practice to be efficient at it!
I know another woman who is an incredible walker! I don't think her walk pace is much slower than her run pace. She claims to have walked the entire distance at Western States one year due to an injury, and finished within the time limit ! She placed extremely well at last year's Six Day Race, racking up almost the same mileage day after day. I credit her efficient and powerful walk.
So today, I'll be walking but I'll still be training!