Aug 222020
 August 22, 2020  Posted by at 4:00 pm Beginner Level  Add comments
Run/Walk Philosophy, Team GFR Saturdays, Beginner, Recreational, Advanced, Competitive Runners

Why Run/Walk? Does it really work?

Walk breaks are beneficial and have their place for everyone from time to time, more often for the beginner and recreational runner, less often for the advanced and competitive.

Three Benefits of the Run/Walk Philosophy:

(1) Extended Endurance – Walk breaks will allow you to lengthen your “long day” without added stress to your joints and connective tissues. Walk breaks help soften the blow, so to speak, as your feet, legs, and body get used to the increase in distance.

(2) Quicker Recovery – Walk breaks will let your body recover quicker tomorrow from what you did to it today! Running is hard work, especially for those just entering the crazy world of half-marathons and marathons. Recovering quickly so you can go out and do it again is important. If you don’t recover, you’ll have to come up with some other excuse for your mildly insane behavior early on Saturday mornings.

(3) Consistency! – Following from Extended Endurance and Quicker Recovery, is the long-term consistency you will achieve. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, consistency is the key. Without it, most beginners find themselves struggling with starting, getting hurt, and having to start over again (or worse yet – having to quit). Walk breaks help you build gradually and CONSISTENTLY over the course of weeks and months on your way to that half-marathon or marathon finish line!

How should you do Run/Walk?

For the Beginner Group, walk breaks may be suggested for nearly every workout. However, rather than staying locked into the same Run/Walk routine for months on end, as we progress through the program, the Run/Walk Ratio may vary with certain workouts, distances, and events. By adding variety in the R/W ratios and variety in the kinds of workouts you will be doing, you will see and feel the benefits of a more complete training picture.

For the Recreational, Advanced and Competitive groups, walk breaks are suggested for the long EZ runs and optional for other workouts. Suggested walk break guidelines for long EZ runs are as follows:

  • Average pace > 12 minutes/mile – Run 4 minutes/Walk 1 minute
  • Average pace = 11-12 minutes/mile – Run 5 minutes/Walk 1 minute
  • Average pace = 10-11 minutes/mile – Run 7 minutes/Walk 30 seconds
  • Average pace = 9-10 minutes/mile – Run 9 minutes/Walk 20 seconds
  • Average pace = 7-9 minutes/mile – Run 10 minutes/Walk 15 seconds

The variety in our training plans make them fun and interesting. The optional walk break suggestions make it accommodating for a range of ability levels. Which ever you decide to do, stay consistent and you’ll be amazed at the progress you will make!

The Run/Walk Philosophy in training programs at Gallagher’s

Since 1994,  we’ve offered training programs from track races and 5k’s to marathons. In those earlier years, we did no walk breaks. Then, from 1999 through mid-2006, GFR offered marathon training clinics in association with Jeff Galloway’s Training Program out of Atlanta, GA. While the combination of running and walking had been around forever, Jeff certainly did the most of anyone to promote it. All over the world, programs have combined running and walking in various ways enabling thousands of runners to successfully cross the finish lines of countless half-marathons and marathons.

In October 2006, we brought training programs back “in-house” and began the Team GFR Marathon Training Program. In designing the workouts, we chose some of the best aspects of the former approach and blended it with what we learned from our Salem, Oregon audience.

During the Spring of 2014, we renamed Team GFR Marathon Training Program to simply, Team GFR Saturdays. Runners can sign up for 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon or relays training. Each distance offers Beginner, Recreational, Advanced and Competitive training levels. In 2020 and beyond, we continue to accommodate the beginner, the competitive runner and everyone in-between.

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  2 Responses to “The Run/Walk Philosophy Really Works”

  1. I have a problem where I can walk 5 miles but I can only get up to like 1/2 mile run. I weigh 130 and Iam 5’7 and 62. I know old right. I want to be able to run 5 miles but don’t know where to start

  2. Hi Barbara –
    Thank you for your inquiry. Here’s a suggestion. It’s a method of transitioning from walking to running I’ve personally used.
    Begin with a walk-to-run ratio that you can safely do, with confidence. Example:
    Walk 8 minutes and 30 seconds, alternating with run 30 seconds. Go for a duration you can handle, whether 30 minutes, an hour, or more. If this seems too conservative, change the ratio. Example:
    Walk 7 minutes/run 1 minute. (7:1’s) Do the ratio you can reasonably accomplish three days a week for at least one week before changing it. I typically do it every other day, alternating with either walking only or spinning on a bike.
    Gradually change the ratio to less walking and more running. The key is gradual. For some ratios, you may need to stay at that ratio for two or three weeks before changing it. The ratio you choose is very individual to how you feel and only you know that.
    Over time, your ratio changes to running more than walking. You can always put in walk breaks when you need them and for the length of time you need them in order to stay comfortable. Your effort must absolutely be EZ for a warm-up, then comfortable in the middle, then EZ at the end for your cool-down. There’s no need to go at an effort that’s too strenuous. Use the talk test as a guide. If you can talk in complete sentences, you’re doing good. Sweating is fine. If you use a heart rate monitor, 60-80% is the guide. Don’t go above 80%. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, just use the talk test.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks again and good luck!

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