PT on the Net Research

Walk a Marathon: Training


Question:

Do you have any information on the most effective/safest way to train a client to walk a marathon? The client has a good foundation already, and we have six months to train. I would appreciate any feedback and/or links to articles.

Answer:

The lateral tilting and rotation of the pelvis during marathon speed-walking could have detrimental effects on the body, as a movement system, if the Core is weak in a multi-planar environment. Even in walking, the body is subjected to forces in multiple planes of motion. You might think of walking primarily as a straight-ahead activity (sagittal plane.) But to achieve optimum performance and reduce injury, forces from the side (frontal plane) and rotational forces (transverse plane) must be properly controlled. This will ensure safe and efficient force transfer as the athlete moves straight ahead, otherwise the body will initiate a series of compensations that lead to faulty movement patterns and eventually injury. For further information, please refer to these articles on the web site:

These articles focus on developing multi-planar core stability and how it aids all clients in achieving optimum performance. The “core” is the musculature of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and is the center of all movement. The core functions as an integrated functional unit, which distributes weight efficiently, absorbs and transfers ground reactive forces and provides stability to the entire kinetic chain. The concepts and exercises described may not be specific to marathon walking, but how they are applied to your client is very specific. By understanding the forces that each joint is exposed to through each activity, you will be able to customize a long-term program and design training sessions for your clients.