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Shin and Ankle Strength
Most walkers at some point experience soreness in their shin and ankle areas whether they are interested in race walking or not. This can occur during the beginning phase of a walk, especially when you have started out too fast with little or no warm up. Soreness may also be experienced 24 to 48 hours after a workout, especially if you have done speed work or have walked a longer distance than usual. Improving shin and ankle strength and flexibility can make your workouts more comfortable as well as be a key factor in increasing your speed.
Here are a few ideas to strengthen these muscles so you can get full propulsion as your foot rolls through its contact with the ground.
1. Point and flex your feet using an elastic band for added resistance.
2. Walk on your heels for several yards.
3. Perform calf raises on the edge of a step.
4. Rock up on your toes then back on your heels.
Repeat these exercises regularly to reduce shin pain and to make your race walking more efficient.
Feeling the need for speed? Or maybe you just want to get a little more out of your walking workouts. Add interval walking to your training schedule, and you will teach your body how to handle more stress, which will result in better performance and an increased fitness level.
The basic idea is to vary the pace of your walk so you have a phase of working hard (up to 90% of your maximum heart rate) followed by a recovery phase where you stroll slowly, bringing your heart rate down. The following are ideas that you can incorporate into your training schedule:
* Always warm up for at least ten minutes before each session.
* Tempo Walking – Walk for 20 to 30 minutes at 85% of your maximum heart rate. Follow with a ten minute cool down.
* Walk 5 X 5 X 5! – Walk five minutes fast, five minutes moderate, repeat five times.
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