You’ve probably heard the advice for couch potatoes to start a running program by alternating walking and running from one lamp post to the next. Its great advice, but the concept of run, walk, run training isn’t limited to beginners. It’s actually a fantastic training tool for anyone wanting to get fit fast.
In this article, we’ll uncover 5 key benefits of run, walk run.
How it Works
Run, walk, run alternates short bursts of running and walking based on your level of training experience and your specific training goals. The running period may involve a jog, run or sprint. Often the walking period is twice the length of the walking period, but this, too, fluctuates on the basis of the training goal.
To effectively perform your run, walk, run workout, you should set your interval timer for your running / walking intervals. You will then simply have to switch between running and walking every time you hear the interval timer buzz.
What Do You Need?
All that you need to benefit from run, walk, run is a decent pair of running shoes and an interval timing for running.
Benefit #1: Reduced Risk of Injury
Of course, you should always begin any training program with a warm up. Beyond that, run walk run allows the runner to monitor their body throughout the training period.
Whereas a traditional run tends to motivate the runner to push through any niggles or strains until they reach their destination, run walk run allows the runner to walk out any niggles or even stop if necessary. Often breaking up the run with periods of walking will, in and of itself, prevent any injuries from occurring.
Run, walk, run is also a great way to get back into running after a lay-off or injury.
Benefit #2: Your Running Distance & Time Will Improve
Run, walk, run is a very effective way to progressively improve your overall running distance over time. In fact, in one study the run, walk, run training methodology allowed average runners to perform equally as well, in terms of finish time, as professional runners.
By interspersing running with periods of walking, you will be able to offset the build-up of lactic acid, allowing you to run faster for longer.
To increase your overall speed and distance, you should slowly increase your running and decrease your walking periods over time by adjusting your interval timer times.
Benefit #3: More Motivating
Let’s face it: many of us just don’t look forward to the prospect of a long-distance run. But the idea of short runs interspersed by periods of walking is far easier on the mind. You’ll be more pumped and focused for the run periods and more able to regulate your bodily movement and breathing during the walking periods.
Benefit #4: Lower Fatigue Levels
Run, walk, run training is less harrowing on your body. The regular periods of walking reduce the impact on your joints. It will also provide a period of relief for your lungs and the muscles in your legs. It also breaks up the constant shock of landing that your body has to deal with on every step. This will progressively improve your ability to run for longer before the onset of fatigue causes you to stop.
Benefit #5: Allows for Total Customization
As we mentioned at the outset, run, walk, run is usually associated with newcomers to exercise. The reality is far different. This methodology can be used to great effect by beginners, intermediate and even professional runners. Advanced runners may sprint for a minute and then walk for two minutes for a period of several miles. If you think that sort of workout is for beginners, why not set your interval timer and give it a try?
The run, walk, run training methodology is a very useful training tool for all levels of runner. To make consistent, safe progress, be sure to warm up and cool down thoroughly. You should also invest in a professional interval timer, such as the Gymboss Classic. Finally, be sure to progressively increase your run time to keep yourself challenged!