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2010-06-15 5:39 PM

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Subject: Walk/Run
Hi Everyone,

I'm attempting my first half at Steelhead next month.  I've got a decent swim and I shouldn't have an issue pulling off the bike in under 3 hours.  My run is my biggest limiter.  I can run a half in about 2:07 and my 5k PR is 22:49.

I've been reading in books like "going long" that many AGs can finish the run faster by implementing a walk/run protocol.  So far I've been running the entire 13.1 but I'm curious about the idea of trying out walk/run.

What are your experiences with walk/run in half and full distance races?  Can it really be faster?  If you did walk/run, what ratio worked best for you (just walking through aid stations, 20:1, 10 minutes/1 minute, 4:30/30 like galloway)? 



2010-06-15 6:45 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
Paced properly, I feel running is going to be faster for most.  But some people find it easier to pace properly with walk breaks.  And some also find that their average pace does not change much with constant running versus short walk breaks. 

I don't used "run/walk" (unless I have to) for the most part, but I do often find it to be a good idea to walk through a portion of an aid station in long races.  Makes sure I take in fluid/nutrition and simply makes it easier to do so.

Your half versus 5k time (assuming on similar fitness) indicates that you either have had some pacing issues and/or your training just isn't to a point where you can carry your 5k endurance through a half (an "equivalent" half time would be ~1:45 for you).  I would think it be worth considering a plan to at least start out walking the aid stations and then see how you feel as the run progresses.  I don't believe one needs to "practice" this, but Galloway certainly has more experience with the protocol than I do.
2010-06-15 7:12 PM
in reply to: #2924046

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
JohnnyKay - 2010-06-15 6:45 PM

Your half versus 5k time (assuming on similar fitness) indicates that you either have had some pacing issues and/or your training just isn't to a point where you can carry your 5k endurance through a half (an "equivalent" half time would be ~1:45 for you).  I would think it be worth considering a plan to at least start out walking the aid stations and then see how you feel as the run progresses.  I don't believe one needs to "practice" this, but Galloway certainly has more experience with the protocol than I do.


Yes, that's exactly it.  This is just my second season and my run endurance just isn't there yet, and I'm not sure it will be for steelhead, so I'm trying to make the best of what I got!  Laughing

I appriciate your perspective, it makes lots of sense.  I haven't read the Galloway books, just some online stuff.  It does seem though that if one does adopt a walk/run protocol strategically, it makes pacing much more complicated of a problem than if that person were to just run the marathon pace of their VDOT score...
2010-06-15 8:52 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
I don't personally like the run/walk strategy if I can avoid it.  I never practice it.

BUT:
I used a run/walk strategy at IMKY last year.  I hadn't planned to do this, but was struggling and felt like I needed the breaks.  So, I walked quickly from the start to the end of each aid station (every mile).  I can now understand why some coaches recommend the strategy.  It was quite effective at breaking the race up into manageable pieces, and I still ended up with a decent marathon split (3:27).  For me, the mental relief provided by the walking breaks was as helpful as the physical relief.

Edited by wiky 2010-06-15 8:57 PM
2010-06-15 9:35 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
IMO (and in my experience to date) there's a huge difference in the conversation about run/walk when you're talking about full vs. half.  My first HIM run was 1:48 and my standalone half mary PR was 1:42 at the time.  Walking any of that HIM would have been a waste of time.  At Wildflower, where I had serious cramping and gastric issues on the run, I walked less than 2 miles (about a 6:1 run/walk equivalent) of the uphills, but that cost me more than 20 minutes.  I wouldn't go into a half planning on walking any of it; at the IM distance, I've started the run each time knowing I'd walk the aid stations and then play it by ear from there.
2010-06-15 10:10 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
Check out running coach Bobby McGee's info regarding this. He is a huge supporter of it and has worked with many athletes, including ultra runners that have shaved lots of time off their race by incorporating planned walk breaks into their training and races. The idea is to give the legs a quick rest BEFORE they get tired, therefore preventing fatigue from getting too out of control. It works both in a physiological and mental way. You always know you will get a break so can hold out for lets say "just 3 more minutes". He advocates the 10 min run, 1 min walk timing, but you can use any that work for your body. The idea behind it is to keep the run portion at a consistent pace compared to the pace getting slower and slower as the event goes on. And the walk portion isn't a stroll either, but enough to take the pressure off your legs for that short amount of time.
I listened to an interview with him on a podcast and he said that Greg Bennett trained like this, but he did it at night so no one would see him .
Now...this only works if you practice it, to make your transition from run to walk to run seamless while keeping a quick pace during the walk. It also wouldn't be much of a benefit to someone who can maintain a consistent pace without letting it slow down during an event. So if you are a very strong runner, it may not be of any help.
I can say that I use it on my long run days and my legs feel fresher and I have less fatigue/aches and pains so I am a believer, but I don't think it is for everyone. I use it as well to keep my injuries at bay, and so far so good!
I believe the interview was on Ironman Talk Podcast on iTunes, but I know you can find transcripts of this on the internet. Also Jeff Galloway believes in this as well and is a great resource!
Good luck!


2010-06-15 10:29 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
I do run/walk for HIM and IMs. I have read and listened to Bobby McGee's thoughts on run/walk.

My coach last year was a big proponent on run/walk in longer races and he had all his athletes do it. I think last year about 25% of his IM athletes KQed so they are fast and some do sub 3:30 IM runs and they run/walked.

Most folks walk through aid stations so why not train your body to be able to do so by run/walks. I typically do 1 mile run and 20-40" walk on my long runs.

Since I've implemented run/walk I am better able to pace evenly or not slow down which is key for longer races..last HIM I actually negative split the run on a hot April day even though I trained in MA for a TX race.

I've done all sorts of variations on run walk....19'r/1'w; 1 mile/20-60" walk; 5' run/30" walk and find the mile run then walk aid stations is best so I practice it.

There are lots of advantages to run/walking and planning to do so: when walking you are executing your plan not failing like those who planned to run but are walking which makes starting to run again easier; your using different muscles and can clear lactic acid when walking; you just think run xxx and then I can walk again so it is manageable; it works for many.

2010-06-16 4:42 AM
in reply to: #2924343

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run

runspingirl - 2010-06-15 11:10 PM Check out running coach Bobby McGee's info regarding this.... I believe the interview was on Ironman Talk Podcast on iTunes, but I know you can find transcripts of this on the internet.

I heard the same podcast.

There are some smart coaches out there that are starting to embrace the walk/run method for their faster IM finishers.  I want to give it a try, but my ego won't let me walk during my training runs. 

Also, my understanding is that you need to train with the walk breaks, so you can take advantage of lowering your HR and get used to how the pace should feel.

2010-06-16 7:51 AM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
Walk/Run is simply another form of pacing strategy, nothing more, nothing less.
2010-06-16 2:30 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
JustMike - What are your experiences with walk/run in half and full distance races?  Can it really be faster?  If you did walk/run, what ratio worked best for you (just walking through aid stations, 20:1, 10 minutes/1 minute, 4:30/30 like galloway)? 


I think it definitely _can_ work.

Here's what Galloway recommends:

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/walk_breaks.html

And as someone else said, the key here is to do walk breaks early and often before you're tired.  Run/waking as a strategy is very different than walking when you're too tired to run.

And it might sound a bit crazy, but I really would start with a run/walk ratio of 4:1.  Try it on a training run, and see how it works out for you.

Here's a run/walk calculator for you. 

Run/Walk Calculator

To keep your 1/2 marathon pace (9:41 min/mi) with a 4:1 run/walk ratio, you'll need to run at 8:48 min/mi for 4 minutes before taking your walk break. 

2010-06-17 12:32 PM
in reply to: #2923956

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
One of the guys on IMtalk (http://www.imtalk.me/), Coach John Newsom (http://www.coachjohnnewsom.com/) is currently doing a trial comparison of his marathon performance using all running v. run-walking.  He will be doing 2 marathons this year and plans to evaluate his performance using both methods, so that will be interesting to hear.


2010-06-18 1:58 PM
in reply to: #2924713

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
bryancd - 2010-06-16 8:51 AM Walk/Run is simply another form of pacing strategy, nothing more, nothing less.

So I've toyed with the idea of doing the walk/run, not so much due to pacing but because this is what McMillan says about walk/run:

"Why do walk breaks work?
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not."

Do you think this is bunk?  I'm not being wise, I really respect your opinions on this.
2010-06-18 2:32 PM
in reply to: #2930655

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
wbayek - 2010-06-18 2:58 PM 
So I've toyed with the idea of doing the walk/run, not so much due to pacing but because this is what McMillan says about walk/run:

"Why do walk breaks work?
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not."

Do you think this is bunk?  I'm not being wise, I really respect your opinions on this.


This is consistent with my experience using run/walk.  

I ran the first ~5 miles of the marathon, but no matter how slow I went, my quads/calves couldn't recover.  Fortunately, short race-walking breaks thru the aid stations provided enough relief to then run another mile.
2010-06-18 3:06 PM
in reply to: #2924368

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Subject: RE: Walk/Run
KathyG - 2010-06-15 9:29 PM

  • ...There are lots of advantages to run/walking and planning to do so: when walking you are executing your plan not failing like those who planned to run but are walking which makes starting to run again easier


  • Wow, that makes a lot of sense. I am starting to get this run/walk thing. It really is just another way to pace. And, if you are going to be walking at the end then better to pace your walking breaks in at the beginning.

    The point is to run a consistent pace, if you got to walk to make that happen then you probably should walk. But what to do if you can run the whole thing at a consistent pace? (I am not too worried about that last question as I have never ran the complete HM)
    2010-06-18 3:26 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    BigDH, check my post a few up.  Apparently the claim is that there are benefits beyond consistent pacing.
    2010-06-18 3:41 PM
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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    wbayek - 2010-06-18 12:58 PM
    Do you think this is bunk?  I'm not being wise, I really respect your opinions on this.


    It's not bunk, but I do think that fatigue is a result of pacing and fitness for that pacing and as such can be managed in a variety of ways. I think run/walk is a great way for people to build their mileage in training, and if they do train that way, they should race that way. I also think that given time and good training, running an entire marathon, even an IM marathon, can be achieved, it's simply a matter of training. From where I stand in terms of training and racing, the day someone win's an open Marathon using run walk or has a top run split in an Ironman will be the day I give it some consideration. Until then, the fastest way to the finish line for me is to train myself to run and I have improved my ability to do so over the years by training to run.


    2010-06-18 4:46 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    Thanks Bryan, that was kind of my thinking on it but this idea keeps coming up.  Of course, if I ran barefoot ...
    2010-06-18 4:47 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    For my second HIM, my run was not quite there due to some nagging injuries. I discussed with my coach a month before the race a run/walk strategy. I also did not want to aggrevate my injuries. My goal for the run was 10 minute miles or about 2:10. I actually did a couple of ten miles runs in practice employing a 30 second walk after each mile. It was really hard to make yourself do this for the first few miles because you just don't feel like you need to but it made a huge difference as the miles march by. You actually cover about .05 miles during that walk so you really only run .95 miles at a time. With aid stations every mile on the course at the race my plan was to grab my hydration needs and walk just after the aid stations. With all the congestion in the aid stations I did not want to make that worse by having people dodge me so waited until I got past than walked as far off the path as I could.

    Alas, the best laid plans... Off the bike I feel great, click off three 8:30 miles in a row, who needs to walk, than 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 11:00, OK, I need to get back to the plan. How stupid could I be. Got back into the run/walk and things went great from there.
    2010-06-18 5:26 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    ^^See now this is probably the worst thing you can do, as you found out. You need to train walk/run over a few months to acclimate your body to what is in essence running a bunch of intervals with a walk recovery. You can't just try it a few times and call it a plan. Your run improved because by walking, you were going slower, going slower always helps when things are going bad.

    Again, poor initial pacing can make anyone have to start doing some walking. The real question is it faster? I don't it ever will be, and because it's impossible to really prove for one way or another, the only definitive answer will be who wins the race and how did they do it. Right now, they all run 100% of the time.

    Edited by bryancd 2010-06-18 5:27 PM
    2010-06-18 5:33 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    Well, I think there's a difference in general between "going faster" with a walk/run combo.... and "winning the race" with a walk/run combo.  I believe people when they tell me that they finish 13.1 or 26.2 faster when they walk/run vs. a straight run.  But none of these people are winning their races.  I don't think that's what the OP was talking about. 

    Clearly, bryan, no one is going to walk run their way to a 3:20 IM mary.  I think a different perspective on "fast" is needed.

    ETA - this does not take into account that people can, in fact, train to run the entire mary and probably go faster.  I am not commenting on how people do or should train

    Edited by ChrisM 2010-06-18 5:34 PM
    2010-06-18 5:39 PM
    in reply to: #2931070

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    ChrisM - 2010-06-18 4:33 PM

    Well, I think there's a difference in general between "going faster" with a walk/run combo.... and "winning the race" with a walk/run combo.  I believe people when they tell me that they finish 13.1 or 26.2 faster when they walk/run vs. a straight run.  But none of these people are winning their races.  I don't think that's what the OP was talking about. 

    Clearly, bryan, no one is going to walk run their way to a 3:20 IM mary.  I think a different perspective on "fast" is needed.


    No, but it is relative, Chris. What I can do is the EXACT same someone else can do, be it faster or slower. My point is that for a well trained individual to MAXIMIZE their personal performance, they can run faster than they can run/walk. Now, if you take someone and train them properly to run a marathon at a pace they can manage, they will have a result. If you do the same with run/walk, they will also have a result. problem is you can't compare the two as they can't take place at the same time. So I revert back to looking at the front of the field and simply point out they are all running. That's why I don't but this pyhsiological agrument for run/walk. If it worked that well, the best would be doing it.


    2010-06-18 5:50 PM
    in reply to: #2931074

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    bryancd - 2010-06-18 3:39 PM
    ChrisM - 2010-06-18 4:33 PM Well, I think there's a difference in general between "going faster" with a walk/run combo.... and "winning the race" with a walk/run combo.  I believe people when they tell me that they finish 13.1 or 26.2 faster when they walk/run vs. a straight run.  But none of these people are winning their races.  I don't think that's what the OP was talking about. 

    Clearly, bryan, no one is going to walk run their way to a 3:20 IM mary.  I think a different perspective on "fast" is needed.
    No, but it is relative, Chris. What I can do is the EXACT same someone else can do, be it faster or slower. My point is that for a well trained individual to MAXIMIZE their personal performance, they can run faster than they can run/walk. Now, if you take someone and train them properly to run a marathon at a pace they can manage, they will have a result. If you do the same with run/walk, they will also have a result. problem is you can't compare the two as they can't take place at the same time. So I revert back to looking at the front of the field and simply point out they are all running. That's why I don't but this pyhsiological agrument for run/walk. If it worked that well, the best would be doing it.


    Gotcha.  I would agree that the fastest way to get from A to B is to run it.  But you have to be trained to run it    I think people might be saying "right now with my fitness level it's fast to R/W". 
    2010-06-18 6:27 PM
    in reply to: #2931090

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    ChrisM - 2010-06-18 4:50 PM
    Gotcha.  I would agree that the fastest way to get from A to B is to run it.  But you have to be trained to run it    I think people might be saying "right now with my fitness level it's fast to R/W". 


    Agree 100%. My only issue with run/walk is that once beyond that "right now" point, I would like to think that folks will try to PR and do it running, have some faith in their fitness and training.
    2010-06-19 6:31 AM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run

    I think that people who are running a 5 hour marathon are better off with the run/walk.  As the the finish time gets faster I've always thought less and less people should be run/walking and at some point you are nuts to be run/walking.

    I'm starting to question this because I see well respected coaches like Bobby McGee saying he wouldn't be surprised if the winner of Kona in 10 years uses a run/walk strategy.  Keep in mind he didn't say they would run/walk.  Just that he wouldn't be surprised.  That tells me that he has seen something in his fast athletes. 

    It makes sense for an elite athlete to stick with the running the marathon because everyone before them ran the marathon, but it doesn't mean that it's the best method.

    btw, I've never used a walk/run strategy.  Well, actually I've never purposely used a run/walk strategy is more accurate.  I just think it's an interesting idea.

    2010-06-19 8:12 PM
    in reply to: #2923956

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    Subject: RE: Walk/Run
    I dont mind walking the aid stations as it does allow you to break up your run a little. Always walk from the end of the station and not the beginning. That way it's easier to start running again as more people will already be running around you already.
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