Tuesday evening after my first 20k, many thanks for the messages of support by the way, and still feeling it a little in my hamstrings and calves. Normally I would have been out trying to walk it off but now realize that it needs rest to repair so, frustratingly, just cycling to work and wait until it's all cleared up. A good day at work, I spent most of the day playing with the Sultan of Brunei's warships.
Looking ahead, I've got a form for the national 20k in London on the 1st May so another chance to get some speed up. It's been mentioned that it's unusual to do a sub 2hr 20k before a sub 1hr 10k, but all the coaches and the boss at Yorkshire have said my route into racewalking has been unorthadox. Normally it starts as a child at 1k and 3k then building up to 10k etc etc, or the other route is running, then when you get too old (mid 20's) go into 10k and build up. Not 85 miles and work down! But at my age there's not much time for faffing about at 5k's.
Still, as I only started proper race walking, rather than power stomping which I employed earlier, just before christmas, my coach says I'm coming on really well. Normal race walking for a beginner takes a year or two to pick up properly, start slowly and when it feels comfortable work on speed. I've been working on my flexibility with the stretching which still requires work, hence the still sore leg muscles. I've had 3 10k's, the first I had trouble keeping up the race walk, yet still managed 60.07, my PB, annoyingly 7 seconds outside the hour. The second, around York race course (where the horses run, but not on the turf for us) I got lost, took a turn too early and ended up in a dead end, doubled back and probably lost a minute or more, for 60.35. The third was on a tough hilly course with a strong head wind up the hill and did just over the hour again. Everyone was a couple of minutes slow on that one. (On a normal course you would have done 58 minutes etc, blah blah. Do it on a normal course then!!!!) So, overall not too bad. The walking is feeling more natural and my coach says my technique is good and speed will come.
So, improving, a couple more 20k's then up to 50k's? Got to do one at least, tick all distances off before retiring...
Things to help improve speed. Interval training, short bursts at very high speeds until the muscles burn, then short rests, then do it again, and again. twice a week to let the muscles repair. It creates micro tears in the muscles which repair stronger. cardio work, although still doing this now it's less of a necessity, in my races so far stamina has not been a big issue, probably an advantage of doing the long distances. Lots more stretching, especially leg muscles and back. Upper body work to help the arm swing, and more fell running. Running up mountains is a sure fire strength and stamina builder. Helen and her boyfriend Kevin came across late October and amongst others we did Helvellyn and Scafell in two days and they staggered onto the ferry afterwards due to aches and pains. There will be more of that before this years parish.
Kevin and Helen peaking Helvellyn after traversing the full length of Striding Edge, scary but very rewarding! I particularly enjoyed Kevins comment after climbing a particularly scary section; "When you said we would be climbing a mountain, I didn't think we'd actually be climbing a mountain!" Snaefell doesn't prepare you for this...
Hopefully I'll be ready for a light walk tomorrow to get things going again. Rain forecast, so waterproofs and a nice hot bath afterwards.