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I have been running off and on for the last several years. It wasn’t until recently that I got more serious about my running and the goals that I had in regards to it. Back when I first started running in Physical Therapy School I did everything wrong. I did everything that beginners do and screwed up consistently. I was determined to run for as long as I could without walking. I felt like if I walked then I wasn’t a “real runner”.
After a couple of years of this mindset, and several burnouts from running and being inconsistent as well due to the pressure I was putting on myself, I decided to run a half marathon. At this point I was in my last year of Physical Therapy School and I was (I think) a little bit smarter than when I first started out. I realized that there was no way I could mentally finish a half marathon without walking at least some. I also knew that I hadn’t been consistent enough in my training and hadn’t built a good enough running base to make it through without some walk breaks in there.
When I decided to run my first half I decided that I needed to do a lot of research to do it right and be able to finish. I had never heard of this method at the time I decided to do my race, basically I just started googling half marathon training plans for beginners and stumbled upon it. Low and behold, it sounded perfect for me!
However, even though at the time I thought it was a beginner’s method and that was all that it would be good for I have realized that isn’t the case. Not only is a run/walk method great for beginners but it also will help seasoned runners. How?
Why Should I Include Walk Breaks?
#1 Reason: Your form will improve and your fatigue will lessen.
- This is HUGE. If you are really tired during a race or a run, your form will suffer. If your form suffers your pace will slow down, you will become less efficient and you will run the risk of injuring yourself. By keeping your walk break to 30-45 seconds you will actually run faster throughout the race due to preventing fatigue.
Aid stations can actually aid you.
- Water stations along a course are a perfect time to take a walk break. I myself always use the aid station for a place to walk. Since I am not the most graceful person and have not mastered running while trying to drink out of a cup it works for me. It is actually what I did on my most recent half that I set a PR for. To keep you from walking too long it is a perfect way to limit how much you walk. I would walk for the amount of time it took for me to drink my cup of walker and throw it away.
Breaks up the distance.
- This was my reasoning to use it at first. It can make those longer distances less daunting mentally. Instead of mentally panicking about running 13.1 miles you can remind yourself that you are going to run for x amount of time or distance and then walk and repeat this x number of times.
It is like interval training
- If you are a seasoned runner and trying to increase speed then you are most likely doing some speed training. (If you haven’t been doing speed work or intervals during training, I can’t recommend it enough). If you felt refreshed after the walk/rest intervals in your speed training then think about how great you will feel during a race after a short rest.
Ready to try it out? Follow along with Jeff Galloway’s method and find the plan that works best for you!
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