Today I went out to do an easy 6+ miles; this was my first walk since the 50k on Saturday.
My normal route is to walk about .55 miles to the track near my house, then do 5 miles on the track, then .55 miles back home. Normally the first half mile is pretty slow as I warm up and work out the kinks. But today I looked at my Garmin and noticed that I was doing an 11:30 mile. That's not very fast for me, but it is faster than normal for the first warm up half mile. Once I got to the track I kept a nice steady pace; I didn't push very hard, but I did try to keep a strong form and quick step. My first mile on the track was 10:30! I was really surprised--this is almost equal to my half marathon PR pace (10:24).
I just kept walking at a strong pace, not really knowing what to expect. My next mile was 10:11!! This is faster than my 15k PR pace (10:15). Well now I was intriguted to see how fast I could go. I was really surprised by the speed because I was still in "recovery" mode after the 50k.
My next three miles were 9:41, 9:51, 9:44!!! Better than my 5 mile, 8k and 5k PR paces. If this had been a race I would have beat my 5k PR!
So wow, I don't know what to say. I know a fellow racewalker who always talks about the theories of a German physiologist (named Von Aachen?? I don't know the spelling) who expounded on the benefits of Long Slow Distance for both speed and endurance. I guess the long distances, plus the difficult terrain of the trails, has strengthened my leg muscles and increased my foot turnover. I also think the difficult trail terrain has strengthened my feet and ankles and given me a more powerful toe off, which is a significant aid in racewalking.
So for all you speed hounds out there, don't neglect LSD. It just might make you faster!
Distance: 6.15 miles