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The Moonwalk, run by the charity Walk the Walk was started 16 years ago, when just 13 women power walked the New York marathon in their bras to raise both awareness and money for breast cancer. What began as a simple one-off event has now burgeoned into a thriving multi-million pound charity. Up to date over £83 million has been raised for breast cancer causes. Interestingly enough, the charity’s founder, Nina Barough, came up with the idea to walk the marathon in a bra for charity with no former experience of either breast cancer or charity fundraising!
In 2004 Prince Charles became the patron of Walk the Walk, having been a supporter since 2000.
So, walking a half marathon..easy, right? Well, not quite. Although marathons and half marathons require both fitness and stamina, there is also a third, and perhaps more important factor; toughness. Not just a toughness of the mind, but a toughness of the knees, feet, ankles and all the other bits that you use when walking or running. Even walking any distance over 6 miles, this toughness will be needed to avoid becoming tired, achey, and sore.
Just like the fitness and stamina needed, this toughness can be built up by doing a proper training program, and just like a program for running, this is based on weekly training sessions. Overall weekly milage is important, as is the one main walk which “steps up” each week, taking you close to completing the half-marathon distance the week before the event.
Why train? Couldn’t I just go out and do it with no training? The answer to this may be yes, but with no training it’s going to hurt, be tough to finish, and won’t be nearly as enjoyable. We’re taking part girls, so we may as well do it properly, right? The training will also ensure that you don’t get injured, get fitter and of course burn at least a trillion calories in the process.
The half marathon training plan walking is 12 weeks, a standard length of time to get ready for a distance event. Don’t worry if you have missed the start, you can drop in at week 3 (10 weeks to go), 4 or even further in. There are 4 walks a week; two easy ones, a mid distance step up (the distance/time increases each week) and then your long step up.
There are 3 speeds for the program; easy, comfortable and brisk. These can be translated into:
Easy – browsing the shops
Comfortable – faster than a stroll, but not all-out – breathing a tip more than normal.
Brisk – walking with real purpose, breathing and heart rate elevated somewhat. You should still be able to chat to your walking partner, but not too much.
Don’t worry if you miss a walk or two, but try to get them all in – it will make the event so much more enjoyable. And being outside is really, really good for you. Some cross training (strength training, intervals and more conventional types of fitness) will also really help you to put in a great performance and be super proud on the day. Good luck!