Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Walk like...a Boston Qualifier?

So last month's edition of Runner'sWorld was focused on the marathon, and spotlighted 5 or so marathoners with different abilities and goals for their 26.2 (finish first 26.2, qualify for Boston, avoid injury), as well as provided them with a personalized training plan (Runner's World if you are listening...I would love to get a personalized training plan, pretty please and thank you!)

One of the spotlighted runners was a guy who "runs" a sub-3 hour marathon, using the run/walk technique.  He keeps up a 6:24 pace for 20 minutes, while walking through every water station, and then picks it up again.  Pretty incredible strategy if I do say so myself, but does it work for everyone?
This isn't the first I had seen this type of race/running strategy - in fact, it has been made famous by the infamous coach/runner Jeff Galloway (ever heard the term "The Galloway Method"?) The idea behind this method, is if you walk early and often, you will feel fresher at the final miles of the race and even be running faster, than if you tried to keep up a running pace the entire way.  It is a way in which you can give your legs a break (think of it like giving yourself a water "break" every so many miles to keep your hydration and body functioning up - this little "walk break" keeps your legs fresh and performing optimally).  Galloway even produces these little timers, which you can set for your run/walk intervals that beep and tell you when to start walking or running...pretty fancy stuff....

I have tried this method once before, before I had even heard of Jeff and his "method", but from an old roommate - who was trying to get back into running and read that this was a good way to start.  We would go out for 3 mile run/walks, jogging 3 minutes, walking 2, and so on...realization - I mentally needed to accept this strategy, as my legs didn't want to stop jogging, but it really got her out running for longer intervals each time - and it made me slow down, take in the area I was running and have some good conversations.  Remember when I discovered how tough and beneficial walking can be?

He has several books on the topic Source
In my personal training, this topic was brought up again, this time from a couple LUNA teammates, one who uses the method and has completed a couple of ultras (no biggie) and another who is running a marathon the same time as mine, and just starting her training as well.  The question was asked - would you try the run/walk for your long runs and marathon, and I replied, "no" - I realize now that that was a little short, but I honestly don't know if mentally I could keep slowing to a walk and picking back up to a quick run pace...and I honestly don't know if mentally I could take walking during my first marathon....I know there will be points where I will want to walk, and points I might just have to walk...but I have never been one to stop in the middle of runs unless I really needed to...I will slow down to a slow jog if need be, but I get mentally shooken when I stop to walk.

I know this is silly, and that the run/walk method works (look at the guy in RW with a 2:53 PR!), but my mental block on walking goes back to my days of high school field hockey.  My coach would yell at us every practice to just keep moving, she would say "Even if you have to slow down, keep running, once you stop - it will be that much harder to get going again".  I have always had those words in my head when I thought I was too tired to make it through a college field hockey workout (and I thought high school was tough?! Wuss alert), or when  I think I am too tired in a race or training run, and have kept moving....

I am not opposed to the Galloway method, the guy knows what he is doing, and has been very successful at it, but I am don't think I will be using it for my first marathon this fall, unless something in my training tells me I need to mix it up, I will be running every step that I can of Newport.
Yes - yes I can do it! Source
So I leave it in your hands - read the RW article on the R/W 2:53 marathon and Jeff's RW article on his technique - they are convincing, trust me...just not my cup of tea
Do you use or have you tried the run/walk method? Do you feel it works better than just running the whole way?

What is your "avoid-fatigue" strategy?

Have you ever met Jeff Galloway?

He was at the Disney Half I did in January, because he is the designated trainer for the Disney races...he is one in shape man!


  1. ahhhh. i have tried the run/walk method but it is just not for me. I honestly do SO much better when I just keep a consistent pace. Once I started hitting longer distances (and it got hotter out) I started walking through water stations but I try not to let myself take too long. Sip of water and then right back to running. Crazy that the guy ran a sub 3 using that method. absolutely crazy!

  2. I've heard of the run\walk, and I can see how it might work well for some, but I'm totally with your coach...if can be that much harder to get going again once you stop. That's an impressive time, though!!

  3. I read the same article and thought it was so neat! Since I run on trails a lot, I stop and walk all the time. In a trail race I'll give myself 15-30 seconds of walking every mile or so. It's just a small amount, but it really does break it up and more than anything, gives me something to look forward to each mile! Road races I tend to just keep going though.

  4. just came across your blog - am a huge fan! i cannot do the run/walk - every time i start walking i just want to keep walking! during tris, if its a hot day, i walk through the water stops, but other than that, for me, i just need to keep on running!


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