It is important to stay hydrated! You do not want to get more than 2% dehydrated or else your performance will suffer. Keep a water bottle handy…Sports drinks, water, even iced coffee or teas are all fine in keeping hydrated.
- Pre-drink 8-16 fluid oz a couple of hours before your start your walk
- Drink another 4-8 oz thirty minutes before your walk
Diet is important for health and to optimize performance. Proper nutrition can help how an individual adapts to their training program, especially if you plan on transitioning your walking regimen into a running regimen.
- Of your total calories, you should consume about 65% of your calories from carbohydrates. Carbs are your best source of fuel.
- Protein is used for some energy, but mainly to repair muscles and other tissues. Protein should make up 15% of your diet.
- Fat should make up about 20% of your daily food intake. Food such as nuts and fish (cold water fish) have essential fats which are vital for good health.
- Vitamins do not have a role in energy availability; however, they play an important role in cell damage. Whole food sources of vitamin C, E and A would be preferable.
Using Your Environment
To avoid boredom it’s recommended that you change up your walking regimen. Changing up your walking regimen can involve picking routes/workouts with different scenery or different locations. The University of Georgia’s infrastructure has many places to vary your routine:
- IM Fields: natural terrain, Lake Herrick trails
- State Botanical Garden of Georgia: several dirt trail loops of 2-5 miles
- Ramsey: indoor track
- Strength & Condition Rooms I or II: treadmill, elliptical
- Different parts/routes on campus: hills, pick two locations far apart on campus, Stegeman Stairs
Adding variety in your walking routes/regimen does not only change scenery, but also can help change the intensity of your workout (FITT Principle) and avoid plateau-ing/burning out. When planning your workout, consider changing:
- distance (constant pace) or duration (constant pace)
- pace (same distance or duration)
- vary pace = interval: on track or with use of apps
- music: try different playlists, podcasts, and find what works for you
Training with Friends
Walking with training partners can allow you a chance to socialize with old friends while training, meet new people, and stay safe. Specialty walking stores in Athens organize groups that meet informally to train several days per week. Participating in these groups is free and serves as a chance to meet other walkers.
Contact the following groups or stores for more information:
Comfortable clothing is optimal and desired. There is no “best” material. Just remember to be aware of the weather conditions and dress appropriately.
With regards to shoe choice, there are many brands of shoes out there. It is advised to stick to the well-known brands, and purchase your shoes from a reputable retailer with sales associates who work to assess your individual walking/running mechanics. Shoes should provide support. They should aid in your natural biomechanics and not over-correct. For more information on purchasing walking shoes, see the recommendations from the Mayo Clinic.