Living

Organized walks

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Looking for ways to stay motivated while you walk this summer? Start training for an organized walk now and you’ll be ready to cross the finish line in a month or two. “Having a goal, like wanting to finish a 5K or 10K walk, makes it easier to stick to exercise,” says Angela Wilcox, a personal trainer at New World Fitness in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “In order to achieve a goal that’s still a few weeks away, you set smaller goals. When you’re achieving results along the way to your bigger goal, it’s mentally motivating.”

If you’re a beginner, start training at least one month ahead for a 5K walk. Wilcox recommends walking two to three times a week: start with 15-minute walks and then gradually build up to one hour. And do resistance training, such as weight lifting, a few times a week to develop your core strength. This will strengthen the muscles around your joints and prevent back, knee and ankle injuries.

If you’re a more experienced walker, sign up for an 8K or 10K walk and spend one or two months building up your speed and endurance. Walk three to five times weekly, starting with a 20-minute walk and gradually building up to 100 minutes, the amount of time it will probably take to complete 8K. To track your progress, use Chatelaine’s printable fitness log.

Whatever distance you’re training for, don’t tire yourself out during the week leading up to the big day, advises Wilcox. “Stick to shorter walks and resistance training so you don’t overexert yourself.” On the day of the event, make sure you’ve got enough food in your belly to go the distance. Two hours before you set out on a 5K or 10K walk, munch on foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads and fruit, suggests Halifax sports nutritionist Pam Lynch. Include a small amount of protein, such as an egg, and a glass of low-fat milk.

To find a walk near you, sign up for the Walking Club newsletters and visit events.runningroom.com.