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Walk breaks are NOT wimpy--they're effective!!


WALK BREAKS

IDEAS OF JEFF GALLOWAY

The following information, ideas and suggestions for taking walk breaks while training or competing in a long-distance event are from Jeff Galloway’s book, Galloway’s Book on Running, Second Edition. Jeff Galloway was a world-class runner, Olympian in the 10K, and one of a group of American distance runners in the ‘70’s who captured the attention of a new generation of fitness-minded Americans, and literally started the running boom in America.

He has run over 120 marathons, written many books and has a website on training, and endorses, wholeheartedly, the benefits of taking walk breaks during training and races.

WALKING AND RUNNING-- A PART OF OUR HERITAGE

Our ancient ancestors had to walk and run thousands of miles every year merely to survive. They had to walk and run to greener pastures and away from predators and moved across continents and over deserts and mountain ranges. Ancient Greek messengers such as the original marathoner, Phidippides, regularly covered distances of more than 100K a day by walking and running. Marathoners today successfully use this method of taking walk breaks, even some world-class runners.

WHY TAKE WALK BREAKS?

**By alternating walking and running, from the start, there’s virtually no limit to the distance you can cover. Once you find the right ratio for a given distance, walk breaks allow us to feel strong to the end and recover quickly, while building up the same levels of stamina and conditioning that we would have reached if we had run continuously.

**Walk breaks will allow you to go further and increase endurance in a shorter time.

**Walk breaks taken early can reduce injuries by keeping the muscles strong and resilient

enough so that the legs can move with strength and efficiently, and reduce the stress on

the knees, ankles, feet, etc.

**Runners who take walk breaks can improve their overall time because they don’t slow down at the end of a long run. They feel strong throughout, and can actually pick up the pace when everyone else is slowing down.

WHY DO WALK BREAKS WORK?

**Walk breaks vary the use of muscles and distributes the workload among a variety of

muscles, which gives them a chance to recover before they accumulate fatigue.

**Keep you from using up your resources early, giving you strength at the end.

**Walk breaks force you to slow down early in the run so that you don’t start too fast.

WHEN TO TAKE WALK BREAKS?

**The earlier you take walk breaks, the more they help you!

**To receive maximum benefit, you must start the walk breaks in the first mile, before you

feel any fatigue. Even by waiting until the 2-mile mark to start, you’ve reduced your benefit.

**Walk breaks can often change a bad run into a good one. Instead of quitting or cutting your

workout short, take a 1-2 minute walk break every 3 to 8 minutes. Break up your run early

and often, and you can still cover the distance you’d like to cover, burn the calories you want

to burn, and enjoy the experience and look forward to another day of running.

WHEN IN DOUBT, WALK

**It’s much better to take a 1-minute walk break every 5 minutes than to take a 5-minute walk

every 25 minutes.

**The short distance you lose on extra walking earlier will almost be recovered at the end

because you kept your legs fresh.

HOW FAST SHOULD I WALK?

**A slow walk is fine. You lose only about 20 seconds when you walk for 1 minute.

**When walking fast for 1 minute, you lose about 15 seconds.

**Make sure that you don’t lengthen your walking stride too much while walking fast. Monitor

the tightness of your hamstrings and the tendons behind the knee, and shorten your stride.

**Racewalking technique is also okay, and if you have correct form and have practiced, it will

allow you to go faster during walk breaks.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WALK?

**As the long runs get longer, take the walk breaks more often.

**Don’t get too rigidly locked into a specific ratio of walk breaks.

**Vary the frequency of your walk breaks to account for speed, hills, heat, humidity, and

time off from training.

CAN WALK BREAKS MAKE ME RUN FASTER?

**Many runners, with proper speed training, pacing, and the right ratio of walking to running

improve their time because they avoided the fatigue and slowdown in the last part of the

race and were able to run with strength to the finish line.

DO I NEED TO TAKE WALK BREAKS ON THE SHORT RUNS DURING THE WEEK?

**If you can run continuously on shorter midweek runs, you don’t have to take the walk breaks.

DO I HAVE TO TAKE WALK BREAKS AT THE END OF MY RUNS IF MY LEGS ARE GETTING TIGHT?

**If your legs are cramping up later during walk breaks, then just shuffle through, keeping your

feet low to the ground and taking a short stride.

**Cramping at the end tells you to start more slowly next time and to avoid dehydration on

the day before the run, the morning of, and during the run itself.

**Taking breaks all the way to the end will aid in quicker recovery.

**At the end of a race, if you’re feeling great with a short way to go, GO FOR IT!!

HOW DO I INSERT RUNNING BREAKS INTO MY WALK? 5 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED

NEXT PAGE…….

HOW DO I INSERT RUNNING BREAKS INTO MY WALK? 5 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED…

Start by walking only. Begin by walking for 30 minutes. Keep doing this until it feels easy.

Walk briskly. When normal walking becomes easy, walk briskly for 30 minutes. Many people can stop there if they’re getting the feeling that they want from their exercise. Most walkers reach a point at which the walking doesn’t provide the exhilaration they want and start to insert some segments of jogging.

Insert a few "Jogs". When you are comfortable walking briskly and want to step up the pace, jog for 30-60 seconds after walking 5-6 minutes. Complete your 30 minutes with these insertions. After 2-3 weeks, if there are no problems, reduce the walking to 4 minutes for 2-3 weeks. Then you may move to 3-1 for 2-4 weeks, followed by 2-1, and then 1-1. If you need more than 3 weeks before reducing the walking, take it.

Increase the running as desired. Increase the running segments as you feel stronger, always avoiding discomfort. You may eventually fill in the 30 minutes with slow running, or you may keep your walking breaks. Vary your breaks from day to day, but when in doubt, walk more

frequently, especially at the beginning.

Step it up. If you wish, increase the time to 40 minutes 3 times a week. Work up to 60 minutes for at least one of these weekly sessions to increase the cardiovascular, psychological, and fat-burning benefits. Be patient—it’s difficult to get started and stick with it, but once you do, an addiction often occurs which makes the activity self-sustaining, becoming a vital part of your life.

Note: If you’re training for the GOG 10-Mile race, you will have to build your stamina and distance beyond the 1-hour workout session, either by walking the entire distance, or combining walking and running as you wish, and as your fitness level will allow. Have faith—you can do it! judy

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Comment by Brian McCarrie on March 22, 2010 at 9:35pm
Hey Theresa, great information. I sometimes forget that it's okay to walk. Thanks for posting this.

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