Beginner RunnerCross Training For Runners

Run and Walk to Success: Unleash Your Potential with the Run-Walk Method

6 Mins read

Are you a beginner runner struggling to build endurance? Or an experienced athlete looking to take your performance to the next level?

Either way, the Run Walk method might just be the answer you’ve been searching for.

This method was pioneered by Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian and renowned coach who has helped countless people get into running.

But what exactly is the Run Walk method? It’s a simple yet effective training strategy that involves mixing low-intensity running intervals with walking breaks.

By finding the right balance between running and walking, you can improve your fitness, build stamina, and reduce the risk of injury and burnout.

It’s time to lace up your shoes and give this method a try!

The Benefits of The Run-Walk Method for Beginners

Jeff Galloway, a former Olympian and renowned coach, pioneered the Run-Walk Method, which has helped over 200,000 runners and walkers improve their running performance. The method is simple: mixing low-intensity running intervals with walking breaks can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

For beginners, this method is particularly useful as it allows them to slowly build up their endurance without risking discomfort, injury, or burnout. And for those returning to running after a long hiatus, the walk/run sessions can help fortify slow-twitch muscle fibers and improve recovery time.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this method is only for beginners. Intermediate and advanced runners can also benefit from the Run-Walk Method. In fact, it can help them stay safe while nursing an injury and even improve their race times.

Don’t take my word for it.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who used the run-walk method had similar improvements in running performance as those who completed a continuous run. The study also found that the run-walk method resulted in less muscle damage and inflammation, suggesting that it may be a useful tool for reducing the risk of injury.

Another study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that novice runners who used the run-walk method with a 3:1 ratio of running to walking had significantly lower levels of perceived exertion and muscle soreness than those who completed a continuous run. The study also found that the run-walk method led to similar improvements in running performance as continuous running.

The Downsides of the Walk Run Method

While the run-walk method has become increasingly popular among runners, it’s important to consider both the potential benefits and downsides before trying it.

One potential downside of the run-walk method is the risk of losing mental focus during the walking intervals. That’s why you might find it hard to get into running after stopping for a walk break. It’s like hitting a speed bump on the road – it interrupts your flow and can be jarring to your system. However, some runners find that the structured intervals of the run-walk method actually help break up the monotony of continuous running and can help keep them engaged throughout the workout.

Another potential downside of the run-walk method is the risk of slowing down the overall pace. This can be frustrating for runners who are used to maintaining a consistent pace throughout their runs.

However, studies have shown that the run-walk method can actually be an effective way to improve overall pace over time.

A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that runners who used the run-walk method in a half marathon were able to maintain a faster pace overall compared to those who ran continuously. This is likely because the walking intervals help reduce fatigue and allow runners to recover more quickly between running intervals.

It’s also important to note that the run-walk method may not be suitable for everyone. For example, if you have a specific time goal for a race, the run-walk method may not be the best approach. In this case, continuous running may be a more effective strategy for achieving your goal.

Run Walk Ratio For Beginners

To make the most out of this method, take the walk breaks before fatigue starts to set in.

Contrary to popular belief, the walk/run method does not mean that you should take breaks only when tired.

Au contraire, it’s about taking a brief walk break even if you are not tired.

If you wait until you are completely drained, you might go over the red line, thus burning your engine before you are done working out.

To determine the appropriate run-walk ratio for your individual needs, consider factors such as your current fitness level and personal preferences. A study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that a run-walk ratio of 3 minutes running to 1-minute walking was more efficient and less taxing on the body than a continuous run for novice runners.

Here are three walk-to-running ratios to try out.

Choose whatever ratio of walking and running that works for you.

  • The Beginner: Run for 15 to 30 seconds. Then walk for one to two minutes
  • The Intermediate: Run for two to five minutes. Then walk for one to two minutes.
  • The Experienced: Run for eight to ten minutes. Then walk for 30 seconds to one full minute.

As you become more comfortable with the run-walk method, you can progress the ratio over time, like a gardener tending to a plant and allowing it to grow and blossom. A gradual increase in the amount of running and a decrease in the amount of walking can help build endurance and improve overall running performance.

Additional resource – How long does it take to walk a mile

Progressing the run-walk ratio over time:

As you become more comfortable with the run-walk method and your fitness level improves, you can gradually progress the run-walk ratio to challenge your body and continue improving. This may involve increasing the amount of time you spend running while decreasing the amount of time you spend walking or experimenting with different ratios to find the one that works best for you.

A general rule of thumb is to increase the running time by no more than 10% per week while also reducing the walking time by a corresponding amount. For example, if you start with a 1:1 ratio and run for one minute and walk for one minute, you might progress to a 2:1 ratio, running for two minutes and walking for one minute.

It’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed, especially if you experience any pain or discomfort. Gradual progression is key to avoiding injury and getting the most out of the run-walk method over the long term.

Go For Time, Not Distance

So do you make the most out of the run walk method?

Simple. The key is to focus on time, not distance. Instead of feeling pressure to cover a specific distance at a certain pace, measure your walk and run segments in terms of minutes. This takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on improving your endurance and stamina.

The Ideal Session

For an ideal session, start with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then begin an easy run/walk routine, alternating between jogging slowly for 1 minute and walking for 2-3 minutes for recovery. Make sure to fully recover during the walk segments before beginning again. Repeat the cycle 5-7 times and end with a proper cool-down.

Additional resource – How long does it take to walk five miles

The Run Walk Run Method  for Beginners

If you’re a beginner, assess your fitness level and set realistic targets. For example, aim to run a 5K (3.1 miles) within 8-12 weeks of beginning your training. As you progress, increase your training volume, intensity, and frequency. And remember, consistency is key. By following this method consistently, you’ll be able to improve your endurance, reduce the risk of injury, and eventually run longer and faster than you ever thought possible.

Applying The Method

To incorporate the run-walk method into your training program, start with a few run-walk workouts per week and gradually increase the number of continuous runs over time like a sculptor gradually chiseling away at a block of marble to reveal a beautiful statue.

It’s also important to listen to your body and adjust your training program as needed, like a musician tuning their instrument to produce the best sound.

If you’re feeling fatigued or experiencing pain, it may be time to decrease the overall volume or intensity of your workouts, while if you’re feeling strong and making progress, you can gradually increase the volume and intensity of your workouts.

With patience and persistence, the run-walk method can be a valuable tool for improving your running performance and achieving your fitness goal.

Training Plans

The Internet is full of elaborate training programs, but I believe in keeping it simple.

Here are more tips for a great training plan:

  • Aim to exercise at least three times per week.
  • Walk, run/walk, or run for 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week.
  • Cross train or rest on your off days.
  • Keep your workouts at a conversational pace. AKA the Talk Test.

Stay In Your Lane

Remember, the key to injury-free training is staying within your fitness level. No more, no less. The Internet may be full of elaborate training programs, but keeping it simple is often the best approach. So, grab your running shoes, check the temperature, and get ready to hit the pavement with the run walk run method. Your running journey starts here!

The Run Walk Method – The Conclusion

And there you have it, my friends!

If you’re itching to dive into the world of running for the very first time, let me tell you, the run walk run method is your golden ticket. It’s the ultimate gateway to unleashing your inner runner, and the best part? The rest is just minor details. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Thank you so much for joining me on this exciting journey. Remember, when it comes to your training, keep pushing yourself and staying motivated. You’re capable of incredible things!

Wishing you endless miles of exhilarating runs and unforgettable adventures,

David D.

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