Reaching the 15 minute mile walking is about form and upper body strength as much as cardio strength. It's also about convincing your brain what your body already knows... that you can do it. It has nothing to do with leg length. At my peak (before cancer) I reached the sub 15 minute mile long before my fit, 6'1" husband, and I'm 5'5" and over 200 pounds.
Cross training with weights/resistance at a ratio of 2 upper body/core workouts to 1 lower body core workout is a first step. Your arms propel your legs. If you don't believe me, try to walk fast without using your arms at all (including your shoulders), then try with your arms as described below. Strengthening your core allows you to hold yourself upright as you tire; if you slouch, you slow. Strengthing your upper body allows you to pump your arms faster.
As for form, stand up straight, do not lean forward or back. Hold your arms bent at 90 degrees, just like a runner, keep your hands relaxed, not clenched. As you walk move your arms forward and back (think of playing choo choo train as a kid). Do not allow your hands to get lower than your waist and do not allow them to swing across your body or away from your body. Keep your steps short which allows for a quicker turnover. Land on your heel and roll along the more outer part of your foot to the ball of the foot, then push off with the back foot. The longer that back foot stays in contact with the ground the more powerful your step will be.
Once you have the form down, work on increasing speed by doing intervals. Choose an amount of time or distance and walk as quickly as you can, speed (start with 30 seconds) then slow down to a confortable pace for 60 seconds to 2 minutes, recovery. Repeat this for 5 to 8 sets. This will help increase your cardio fitness and you will find that as you get used to the quicker speed you will be able to increase the amount of speed time and decrease the amount of recovery time.
Almost anyone can reach the 15 minute mile with a little practice, as long as you convince your mind that you can do it, and all it has to do is come along for the ride.
BTW, I'm hoping to get back down to the 15 minute goal after I recover from my newest bout of cancer. It won't be easy, but I'm sure going to try.
Thornton Sparkers Team Leader
SparkPeople's Official 5K Your Way Walking Program Co-Leader
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
- Helen Keller
Don't look at life as "you have to," view it as "you get to." It puts the fun back in things.
| Pounds lost: 17.0