Why the 5K is great for walkers

Calling all walkers! You’re invited to the U&R Worldwide 5K on Sunday 8 February. Today we’re looking at why a 5K race is not just rad for runners… it’s ideal for walkers, too!

It’s a progress-checker and purpose-bringer

How’s that for brilliant grammar?!

If walking is your primary form of exercise it can be easy to… take it easy. Easy is awesome, but if your goal is to get fitter a 5K race can add purpose to your perambulation. Many of our Up & Moving e-course walkers schedule in regular 5km “time trials” to see how their fitness is progressing. So if you plot out a neighbourhood route for the Worldwide 5K, you could make a new habit of walking it once a month and keep track of your times. Whether you’re a dedicated walker or aspire to join our 5K Course for runners, it’s a great way to gauge your progress.

There are heaps of walker-friendly 5K’s out there

I love waving the fuchsia pink pompoms for the amazing Up & Runners, sometimes I feel envious. But there are plenty of race opportunities for walkers, aside from our awesome virtual 5K, wink wink. Many events welcome walkers, particularly big ones like Race for Life or Race for the Cure. If I’m keen on a particular race I’ll look up the previous years results on the website. If the last-placed person is around my 5K time or slower, I take that as my green light!

Walking in Bologna

Racing revs up your mojo

Walking can be a solitary pursuit. Personally I like the quality time alone with my audiobooks, podcasts or chattering thoughts. But throwing in an occasional race never fails to reboot motivation levels. The race bibs, the electric atmosphere, the sights and sounds. Being part of an event always reminds me that moving is a joy and something I don’t want to take for granted.

Even better is racing with friends! My happiest races were with Up & Runners Clare, Honor and Julia K in Bologna. It’s a great excuse to hang out with awesome people and their company helps you stay present. The endorphin boost then carries over to your training walks. Bonus!

Up & Running Worldwide 5KSpice up your walks for a speedier 5K

Here’s a way to jazz up your training to get ready for the big day, as devised by Coach Julia and tested by me. Walk 3 x 1km intervals, doing each kilometre done a little differently…

  • Kilometre #1 – walk at your regular pace
  • Kilometre #2 – alternate 1 minute at your normal walking pace with 1 minute fast walk. To go faster increase your leg turnover, i.e. take quicker, more frequent steps, not longer steps.
  • Kilometre #3 – walk the first 500m at normal pace, then the second 500m at fast pace

Time each kilometre and see which method works best for you. And by “works” we mean everything from which was fastest to which felt better. Which did you enjoy more? Which got your heart rate up most? Did one quieten your mind chatter more than another?

Enjoy experimenting with these techniques. You can incorporate them into your training sessions or adopt one of them for your 5K race strategy. Happy walking!

The Up & Running Worldwide 5K is on Sunday 8 February, in celebration of the publication of UP AND RUNNING, our beginners running book. Click here to find out more about how this virtual race works and the great prizes you can win!