Sunday, May 3, 2009

Should you run/walk?

Training for an ultra marathon brings in a whole new level of training.  I love running and its mostly that love and the pure joy I get from it that keeps me going on the long runs.

But my long runs aren't 10 miles any more.  They're substantially farther.

The more I study and learn about ultra-running the more I hear the topic of run/walk method.

For some runners, its a simple matter of run until you can't and then walk for a while until you can run again.  For others its a much more methodical approach where walk breaks are integrated into the run right from the start

While I'm much more familiar with the first approach (most of us have been there at some point), I'm more interested in the latter method.

There is lots of information out there about the run/walk method.  Perhaps Jeff Galloway's marathon training program is the best known.  After a fair amount of research, I've begun experimenting with my own version of the run/walk, beginning fairly early in the run and continuing all the way to the end and I have to say that I have noticed an improvement.

I am not a speed demon and yet I find my self constantly improving with time.  As a big, relatively slow runner, I am doing my short runs of 5 to 6 miles in the 8 to 9 minute per mile range.  Once I would get beyond 10 miles my times would drop into the 11:30 to 12 minute per mile pace.

Today, I did a 11.5 mile run using a simple run 20 minutes, walk 5 minutes method and my pace improved to 10:26 per mile overall.  That's a significant improvement especially considering the fact it was hot, I was out of fuel and I was out of water (never a good combination).

I'm going to keep experimenting and reporting the results because I believe there can be some significant benefits for everyone from the beginner to the experienced.

I definitely think the planned intervals of run/walk are much better than the run until you can't method and today's results certainly point in that direction.  The other concern I have with the unplanned walking is that if you really run until you can't before you walk, it is all together possible that you may not be able to start up a consistent run again.

We shall see!

No comments:

Post a Comment