Whether it's to get through some uninteresting terrain, avoid bad weather or reach the pub before last orders, it always helps to be able to move up a gear. This article describes some simple exercises to help you pick up your pace to walk a bit faster.
Training to walk faster will initially feel uncomfortable until your body gets used to working at an increased level of intensity. The following are some suggestions of how you can adapt your existing level of exercise in order to develop the ability to walk faster.
Treadmill - reduce either the distance you would normally cover or the time you'd spend on the machine, but increase the speed of the treadmill so that you can maintain the increased pace for the entire distance or time. When this begins to feel easier, gradually increase the distance or the time at this faster pace. You might then consider adding additional loads such as inclining the treadmill, or wearing or carrying weights.
Step machine - using less resistance than normal, increase the rate of steps for the duration of your session. As this becomes easier, increase the length of time at this faster rate.
Outdoors based training
Time trial - choose a short walking circuit (i.e. begins and ends in the same place). Keep it fairly short, perhaps not much more than one or two kilometres. Time how long it takes to complete one circuit at your normal pace. Then attempt to complete another circuit in a faster time. Ideally it should be possible to complete a number of circuits in each session. Use this as a measure of your progress.
Circuits - using the same circuit as above, time how long it takes for one circuit at a slightly faster pace than normal. Attempt to maintain this pace for each subsequent circuit. Once this becomes easy, increase the pace of the initial circuit.
Jogging or running - is an excellent exercise to help condition your body and get your the legs moving faster. As it's more intensive than walking, it can be a good alternative if your training time is limited.
There's no substitute for walking over longer distances to help you walk further. However, if your time is limited you'll need to use it efficiently to cope with longer days out on the hills. This article describes some of the exercises and techniques you can employ to improve your stamina and endurance.
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Dave is a full-time mountaineering instructor and guide and has worked both independently and for reputable UK centres including Glenmore Lodge and Plas Y Brenin. In 2008 he qualified as a full International Mountain Guide and now enjoys a mix of working in the UK and overseas. He delivered the 'Winter Essentials' safety lectures for the British Mountaineering Council.
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