Whether you’re a beginner who wants to become a regular walker, an intermediate strider who is serious about reshaping her body, or an advanced trekker ready to take on the ultimate challenge of walking a marathon, we’ve got what you need. You’ll find personalized advice and week-by-week walking routines designed by Judy Molnar, a certified trainer and coach for Iron Girl (an online fitness training program), and plenty of motivation that’ll help you meet your weight-loss goals. Now go ahead and get walking — a healthier you awaits!
MOTIVATION FOR NEW AND EXPERIENCED WALKERS
You’ve taken the first step — you’ve committed yourself to walking regularly. Here’s how to stay motivated:
Find a buddy. When a friend is relying on you, you’re less likely to cancel, and you’ll look forward to the camaraderie.
Set mini goals. Sign up for a charity walk in your area or challenge yourself to walk an additional block each week.
Make an investment. If you spend some money, you’ll be more likely to walk. Purchase a pair of sneakers, or join a gym for the winter months and walk on the treadmill.
Create a rewards system. Hang a chart on your fridge and log your walks. After six jaunts, reward yourself: download a few walking tunes, get a manicure, or buy a new walking outfit.
Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Time, Not Distance
Your mission is to make walking a part of your daily life. The first step is simply to get up and get moving. Three days a week you’ll walk for short periods of time and twice a week you’ll choose a favorite cross-training activity such as cycling, dancing, or working out to a DVD. Give yourself 2 days off to allow your muscles to recover (choose days that work best for you).
Are you ready to transform your body? This section is for you if you consider yourself a consistent walker (you can walk about a 20-minute mile) but you’re not seeing the physical results you want. Here you’ll boost distance and speed to really reshape your body.
Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Speed
If you haven’t been seeing results, the variety in this routine will give your body the wake-up call it needs. Each week, allow 2 days off to rest (choose the days that work best for you), and 2 days to do another cardio activity, like hiking or biking. Every other week add an interval walk to your routine: Walk quickly for 2 minutes and then at your normal pace for 2 minutes. Repeat the sequence 5 times for 20 minutes.
Prepare yourself for one of the greatest personal victories of all: striding across the finish line of a marathon (26 miles). This program is for you if you’re looking for a challenge and you’ve consistently walked 30 minutes at least 3 times a week for 3 consecutive months.
Your 8-Week Plan: Focus on Building Mileage
You’ve already made walking a regular habit. Training for a marathon is a great way to stay dedicated. This routine will help you build endurance, improve your strength, challenge your muscles and get your body marathon ready. Each week you’ll have 2 days of rest (choose the days that best fit your schedule), and 1 day a week choose a cardio activity, such as biking or aerobics.