Run/Walk Method Works for Me: Will it Work for You?

6SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/3/2009 5:18 PM   :  183 comments

See More: fitness, running, walking,
As many of you may know I am a runner. I started running as a way to lose weight, get fit and most of all to prove to my 6th grade P.E. teacher that I could run. Once I ran my first race I was hooked. I love the challenge of running, and though not every run is filled with joy, I do have to say it is my passion.

When I laced up my first pair of running shoes well over three years ago, I started like many new runners do, and that is with a walk/run program. Most people do not have the endurance or stamina to run a long distance right off the bat, but with time and patience one can eventually go from a walk/run to running a good three miles in a matter of weeks. However, many experts are now advocating adding walk breaks into your runs to help not only with your endurance, but to help with your recovery.

Four months ago I registered to run the Chicago Marathon. While having run well over 60 races ranging in distances from a 5K to a half-marathon, I have never taken on the challenge of running, much less training for a run of this distance--26.2 miles. As I was reviewing my training schedule with my running coach, we formulated a plan. We decided to return to what many believe to be a backwards approach to training and that is a run/walk method.

Trust me when I say I was very reluctant to do this type of training. It had been years since I had incorporated walk breaks into my runs. While I have read it works well for many, I felt at first that this was a step backwards.

In doing so, I discovered it did not set me back! Jeff Galloway, one of the country’s premier advocates for this type of training, has been teaching this method for many years. He has had such great success with his program that he now leads clinics all over the country to help running coaches teach this run/walk method. He even has had clients who have qualified for the Boston Marathon using this training technique. And others are starting to echo the praise of Galloway’s training program.

I started integrating walk breaks into my long runs well over 6 weeks ago and I am stunned to see my pace per mile is basically the same as when I do an all-out run. BUT, the most important change I have noticed is my recovery between my runs is so much faster. And as a master runner--anyone over age 40 is considered a master runner--it is even more important to allow for better recovery between your runs so your risk for injury is lessened.

So each Saturday morning I head out the door with my Garmin strapped to my wrist set to a 5:1 run/walk ratio. In other words, I run 5 minutes followed by a brisk 1 minute walk only to pick back up to a 5 minute run. I do this for the entire duration of my training run and it is truly amazing how great I feel when I am done. Just remember that you want to incorporate the walk breaks early on. Do not wait until you get so tired before you start incorporating your walk breaks. This must be a schedule you follow from the onset of your runs. And if you are looking for more guidance, one of our members just created a SparkTeam for those using Jeff Galloway’s training technique. I hope you will check it out.

And don’t forget today is National Running Day so get out and run if only for a few minutes.

Knowing that you can still be a runner while throwing in some nice walk breaks in your training, would this encourage you to start a running program? Do you use walk breaks in your own training? Do they help keep you motivated? And if you do not, do you think this will be something you would ever consider?


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Comments

  • 183
    you wouldn't happen to have access to a playlist for a run(1) walk(4) playlist would you? I am trying to start running and just working on 1 mile right now. - 8/14/2013   10:52:10 AM
  • 182
    great blog - when I started using this method I found I was improving my 5K time - not to mention recovery
    When I gave myself permssion for those planned breaks to walk (recover) it did not feel like I was cheating - it was just part of the plan

    3 months post knee surgery I completed my third 5K of my entire life & my time was 4 minutes faster than the pre-surgery time

    I finally found a strategy that is working and am excited to continue down the run/walk path - 1/21/2013   8:53:25 AM
  • 181
    Thank you.... I love to walk and have wanted to start running but I usually start off too fast and get scared off. The 5:1 seems doable! - 1/1/2013   8:43:18 AM
  • 180
    Great write up!! I'm just starting and was told to use the walk/run system. Finding it works pretty good. I really like this running thing!1 Thanks for sharing Nancy. : ) G - 6/28/2012   10:54:45 PM
  • 179
    I'd love more information on that watch of yours, Nancy! :) I would love something that I could program at different intervals. Does it beep to let you know when each interval is over? - 11/1/2011   4:52:00 PM
  • AMOTHERHEART
    178
    I love this article! Running always intimidated me until I realized that runners walk too! I'm just now trying to get back into running after having my fourth baby in July. I really have missed running. Run/walk is what o have started doing to get back into it. It's nice to feel validated for what I'm doing. - 10/26/2011   5:41:27 PM
  • 177
    This is what I do already, as I'm over 40, have been prone to knee problems, but wanted the added calorie burn of running again. Plus I'd love to run a 10k or longer race one day, if I can stay injury free! I'm going to check out his plan, but I walk 3 min, then run 7 min. That is an easy 10th to keep track of and I go that cycle 8 times, so 80 min total. But it works for 30, 40, 50, 60 min just as easily! I go 4 times (40 min) other and then same back. I can get a long workout in, plus close to an hour of it running, and so far, injury free! - 10/19/2011   7:27:43 AM
  • 176
    This is a great idea. I had completed the advance runners program in Bob Glovers Runners Handbook the first week of June this year. My first week of running 30 minutes continuously didn't go so well. Monday went well. Wednesday that week, I suffered my first heat cramp. It came on right when I was at 25 minutes of jogging. I limped home slowly and intentionally walking. I was trying to not favor it.

    I RICEd it and was walking gently that weekend. By early the next week, I was just walking. My right calf muscle was still sore from the cramp. It was a heck of a feeling when it happened. By the end of the week, the soreness went away. I had been doing yoga during this time to help stretch the muscle gently.

    I went on a business trip and decided to run on the treadmill. All went well until running at minute 23. I could feel it coming on -another cramp. I slowed to a moderate walk and then a slow walk. I went back to my hotel room, got out my yoga strap and gently stretched it. I did some yoga.

    I decided that summer running was out of the question for now. I have just walked TJ most of the summer and have added a bit of jogging here and there. The mornings are cooling down and aren't miserable. I also drink 3-8 oz glasses of water between waking up, feeding the cat, get dressed to head out with TJ.

    So this week I tried interspersing some jogging with our walk. That first morning felt a bit miserable but each jog section got a little easier. I felt great when we got home. And Thursday, we jogged more than we walked and it felt great. No heat cramps. We did a lovely 2.1 miles.

    I just signed up for the virtual 5k which happens to coincide with the Race for the Cure 5K here in the Memphis area that last Saturday of October! TJ will dig the training as he will get to see new people and places to bark and growl at. He is such a crazy little dog. The high school and middle school girls at the bus stops think he's adorable as long as the don't look him in the eye. Then he acts rude. Turkey.

    I'm going to take this advice and run with it that Nancy shared in this blog. I think it will help my heat cramps! Those hurt like the dickens. - 8/28/2011   11:48:55 AM
  • 175
    Love it, love it, love it! I love running, just got out of it for a while, was afraid of harming my joints but have found that it is truly good for me, my bones, and my joints. Just have good shoes, proper form, and don't overdo it. - 8/26/2011   11:18:01 AM
  • 174
    You are a girl after my own heart. I like the walk run method as well. Thanks for sharing!! - 7/29/2011   11:29:53 AM
  • 173
    I just started to incorporate running into my walking. My time is about the same for three miles. I have two damaged knees and ankles so I don't want further injury so I moderate. So far so goo. - 7/26/2011   9:44:34 AM
  • 172
    I have not run in YEARS....stopped years back to protect my knees, plus I have another problem that makes it hard....but yesterday, running back to my house for a camera to photo this house fire, discovered I COULD RUN....surprised me. BUT, I still prefer to walk!!!! - 2/28/2011   1:15:14 PM
  • 171
    I love Galloway's run/walk program--I completed a 4-hour marathon and began by using his technique. It provides such mental relief from an activity that can be mind-numbing to some (and fun to others, I suppose) - 1/29/2011   6:55:37 PM
  • 170
    For Dawndmoore40, if you decide to continue walk/running, start slow and build a fitness base. Buy the best pair of running shoes you can afford! (I don't even look at shoes if they don't cost at least $80 ) As you begin to add distance, limit increases to 10% or 15% a week. For example, if you run for 15 minutes, an increase of 10 to 15% means you add only one or two minutes to your workout. This will minimize the chance of injuries. Also. research plantar fascitis to learn the best stretches to prevent it from recurring. Best of luck to you!
    My daughter used Galloway's method to train for her first marathon and she had a fabulous first race! I use walk/run to coach beginner triathletes to their first triathlon. Sprint tri's usually have a water stop at every mile so we practice walking for 30 seconds to a minute for each training mile. That short recovery, plus a drink, really makes the race achievable for my team-mates! - 10/16/2010   6:10:05 PM
  • 169
    I started to do a run/walk program several weeks ago, and I love how it makes me feel, but I have discovered that you burn pretty much the same amount of calories if you walk or if you run. I love the challenge of trying to run, but after a while my knees and my feet really start hurting and I am afraid of injuring myself. I will keep trying to train for quite a while before I would ever consider running a marathon. I have had plantar facitis in both feet so I am not sure it would be a good idea for me to run? Can anyone give me advice on that? Well, good luck with your running everyone and have a great day! - 10/16/2010   11:24:41 AM
  • SWTLATINA19
    168
    Ive been doing this method for 2 weeks now and I love it. You burn more calories and its like getting an interval training. - 8/12/2010   9:21:58 PM
  • 167
    It's amazing how great I feel doing a run/walk program. I also set my garmin and off I go.. - 6/20/2010   8:00:44 AM
  • 166
    I asked my colleague who an avid runner on how to start running program. He suggest me to do run-walk, just like in this blog. It did sound simple - 200m run, 50m walk. Unfortunately, I keep pushing my program forward as 1)I'm so picky to buy the good shoes for running and 2)still afraid to run in front of familiar faces and strangers, lots of jiggling at whole body tend to make me less confidence. - 6/19/2010   11:28:58 PM
  • 165
    This is how I started running a few years ago. I eventually got to the point where I eliminated walk breaks except on my runs that were 8 miles or longer. After an injury and life's complications my running took a back seat for a while. Now I feel like I'm starting all over again and I went back to walk breaks. I found that if I walk two minutes for every mile I run I can last a lot longer. That and alternating my running days with spinning days has really helped increase my endurance. - 6/17/2010   1:13:11 PM
  • 164
    I just started a run walk program as a way to work up to running and I have to say I love it. - 6/13/2010   9:24:32 AM
  • WANDSFEL
    163
    i am 76. during the 80's i used to run and race a lot. from 95 to 07 i just did very small amounts of running, and then quit from 07 to 08. in 11/08 i decided to train for the two cities 1/2marathon (fresno, cal). i came across the run/walk method, but did not think that was appropriate (at first). however, during training it seemed that i was at least as fast with some walk breaks as i was without any. i did a hilly 10 miler in sept 09 without walking. on oct 18, i did the humboldt redwoods 1/2m using a 9/1 ratio and placing 2nd in my age group (2:17:09). on nov 8 i did the two cities 1/2m using 9/1 and won my age group (2:14:35). so, i consider this a very viable method. it is like a series of repeats which allow you run faster during the running segments, and delay the fatigue and tightening. - 4/23/2010   4:31:04 PM
  • 162
    last year I did my first marathon. I did the run/walk method using a 1 1/2:1 ratio. I just signed up for my second marathon this year and I am now doing a 2:1 ratio of run/walk. I love it. Before I heard of this I was hurting after every run, now I am enjoying my runs again - 3/17/2010   8:36:10 PM
  • 161
    I have been walking since November. Starting February I decided to mix up my 5.5 mile walk with a little jogging. I accomplish this in 90 minutes. My question is as I improve with my routine of walk/jog say 5 min /1 min as you suggest should I add distance? - 2/19/2010   6:26:12 PM
  • 160
    Thanks for the reminder of this valuable approach! - 2/10/2010   7:08:10 PM
  • 159
    Someone here metioned they use a Garmen when that walk/run. What type of equipment is this?? Same Garmen as the GPS folks?? - 12/7/2009   5:47:02 PM
  • 158
    This is what I've been doing all summer and now into the fall. I will never be a runner but this agrees with me, I feel tired but refreshed at the same time when I'm done. - 10/27/2009   9:04:29 PM
  • 157
    I'd like to see some more updates along this line about how your training continues to go (and how your times and the way you feel while you're running) and compare in both the marathon and other races you run that you've done before. I find this topic very interesting, and it'd be nice to get a longer term view of how this change to your training approach ultimately affects your performance. - 9/3/2009   2:21:10 AM
  • LANNER50
    156
    I am a big believer in the run/walk program. I used it to train for a marathon 12 years ago (actually I was using the Galloway program then) and couldn't believe my progress. I never made it to the marathon because of health issues but I have started running again after a long break and I use the run/walk. I wouldn't do it any other way. - 9/2/2009   12:48:57 PM
  • 155
    I recently bought Jeff Galloway's book on beginning running (after having the library's copy for 6 weeks), as well as the Runners' World book on running for beginners. I'm trying to incorporate running into my walking as a way to decrease time/increase endurance. The only thing I can't seem to do is get up and run/walk before work! - 8/3/2009   1:22:50 PM
  • 154
    I've been doing this, too, and never realized it was a normal pattern to begin running! I'm 274 pounds so I'm taking it slow. I walk more than run but it's a start! - 8/2/2009   11:17:00 AM
  • CASHWORTH1
    153
    I have been walking for several months now (mostly on a treadmill) and decided to try to start running some despite the fact that I am a 50 yo female and still weigh over 230 lbs. After 10 minutes of warmup, I do 3 minutes of running, 2 of moderate walking, 3 of faster walking, 2 of moderate walking (10 minutes rotation) and repeat twice, then walk moderately for the next 15 minutes and cool down for 5. I hope to get to the point soon where I can just run 3, walk 2, run 3, walk 2, etc. - 6/18/2009   4:30:07 PM
  • 152
    Thank you for writing about running/walking. I have recently moved from walking to running and have had a lot of difficulty breathing if I don't stop and walk. If I take a brief walking break, I can usually run four miles. If I just run straight through, I can only manage two miles. This was so encouraging to me and I can't wait to get to the gym today to try it out!
    - 6/13/2009   1:49:51 PM
  • 151
    I recently tried to start running a little. I ran for minite for every three minutes I walked. After I finished I had ran one mile. This was amazing for me. I have never been a runner. I can bike over 40 miles at a time, but I have always shied away from running. Not now, running is one of my new fitness goals. - 6/12/2009   2:57:39 PM
  • 150
    I've been a walker for years and have just recently started adding some running . Glad to know that I can continue to walk with my running as I can walk much longer than I can run, but trying to increase my running time. - 6/10/2009   6:05:32 PM
  • KARINHANSE
    149
    I just came upon this article 3 days before I was scheduled to "run" in a 5K fundraiser event. Usually, I would just run for a little while till I got tired and then walk the rest of the distance. Instead, I did 4 minutes of running followed by 2 minutes of power walking. Completed the whole 5K in 34:27 and felt terrific afterward. Leg muscles were a little sore, but no joint problems or overuse injuries. Thanks for the timely advice! - 6/10/2009   6:00:11 PM
  • 148
    I just started running and have found the run/walk method very effective. I've found that I can go much farther than I ever thought possible. It's great! - 6/10/2009   1:55:58 PM
  • MARIABEE
    147
    When I'm on the treadmill, I find this method works really great. I walk a couple of minutes on a 4% - 5% incline before I begin running again at 1%. It definitely helps to have a breather. - 6/10/2009   9:07:59 AM
  • 146
    I tried this method the other day during a 15k run (about 9 miles), and really enjoyed it! I still felt it was challenging, and it kept my HR in zone the entire time. I'll definitely keep doing this in the future ... great idea! - 6/10/2009   5:54:56 AM
  • 145
    I would like to try this. However, I am concerned about the overall effect on my knees. I am currently walking 3 miles (either on the treadmill, outdoors, or using a walking tape). Sometimes this causes problems and I'm sure that running would put more pressure on my knees than walking. - 6/9/2009   11:33:05 PM
  • KNIT131
    144
    This is the 8th yr that I've followed the Galloway plan and love it! - 6/9/2009   11:14:16 AM
  • 143
    I am ABSOLUTELY a huge proponent of the Galloway method! I have his books, and I've used his training and expertise for many races. His methods helped me trim minutes off my 5K time, and helped me complete Hospital Hill half-marathon this past weekend, a race known for its difficult inclines, without difficulty and in my best time. The walk breaks WORK. And you don't feel like you 'cheated'; you feel GREAT afterward. - 6/9/2009   9:59:53 AM
  • 142
    keep up the good work - 6/8/2009   8:33:47 PM
  • 141
    I joined a running group for beginners and that's what we do. At the end (12 weeks) we run a 10k. We started with 1 & 1 and progressed up to 10 & 1 where we ran our first 5k. We're currently on week 9 and are now working on the distance while trying to maintain a 10 & 1 but dropping it down if we need to. I find it REALLY helps to have that break to catch your breathe, drink some water and just get your mind re-focused! - 6/8/2009   6:31:28 PM
  • 140
    I have been doing a jog/walk for a couple weeks now. Last night I jogged the whole 2 miles and was surprised that I didn't have a better time. Proof to me that the run/walk strategy does have some benefits. - 6/8/2009   2:50:44 PM
  • 139
    I just started doing the running and walking on the tredmil. I have never ran before on the treadmil and it is great. So far I can only run for 2 and half mins at a time. Working very hard to learn this new habit. I did notice at night I have a lot of leg pain. Any way to prevent that ? I stretch almost three times after my work out and between the time I go to bed. Above all I like it.... and it is a good way to loose weight. - 6/8/2009   12:30:01 PM
  • 138
    I ran my first 5K this weekend using a "run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes" ratio. From a cardio standpoint I didn't even burn as many calories as I do on the elliptical in the same amount of time (I wore my heart monitor), so that was a bit disappointing -- but the intervals definitely make running possible. What I also discovered was, running is a heck of a lot harder on my body (hips, mainly) than the elliptical is, and I wonder if it's worth it at my age to be trying to become a runner. Hmmmm. I'll do more training runs and maybe a couple more 5Ks this summer to try to sort that out. - 6/8/2009   12:24:37 PM
  • LAWRADJ
    137
    my wife and I a both walking up to 2 miles a day were down to about 55 minites
    we are senior but both ex jocks
    I have much too much weight, will this regiment halp me
    my knees can take just so much, so I have to make sure im warmed up

    I increased my water and reduced my salt to just what is in the foods

    am I on the right track?

    My wife is following suit

    any suggestions.

    i feel a little better now but want to improve my weight condition

    I know its better than nothing but am I just wasting my time

    thanks larry - 6/8/2009   12:36:32 AM
  • MAWITSOYS
    136
    I found a 10K training program in one of the Spark articles, and have been using that. I am ready, I think to go from walk 4, run 1 to walk 3, run 2. I also have been doing interval training where I speed up during the last 30 seconds of the run phase. I have only done this on the treadmill, but it has worked for me every time! - 6/7/2009   6:59:52 PM
  • 135
    I just got started trying to run/walk again. So far I can only do 1/1 for 30 minutes. I am going to increase it to a 2/1 next week.

    Wish me luck! - 6/7/2009   4:07:15 PM
  • 134
    I had never really felt the desire to run before...but recently, maybe from reading Sparkpeople, I had thought about it. Our treadmill broke last week so we have been walking out in the neighborhood while we wait for our new one...On Friday I broke into a run once...Saturday 3 times, today 4...I just run until I feel out of breath and then walk some more at a quick pace..I'm really enjoying it, I wish I had chosen to try it during cooler weather but I guess the time wasn't right then...I think tomorrow I will try it in a more planned out way...1 minute running for every 8 walking sounds about right for me. - 6/7/2009   3:40:14 PM

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