Runners like to run, and many think that slowing down and breaking into a walk is cheating or a sign of defeat. The truth is that arming yourself with a Gymboss running timer and injecting your workouts with periods of walking can be very beneficial and could even help you get fitter, faster.
Not convinced? Here are five reasons to do run-walk workouts.
Better for beginners
All beginner runners should use run-walk timer. When beginners first start exercising, they lack the fitness and endurance to run very far without stopping. This means their workouts are often not long enough to be beneficial. If you can only run for five minutes without stopping, it will take you a long time to increase your fitness.
With run-walk intervals, you can exercise for longer straight off the bat, even if you can’t run very far without stopping. Even an unfit beginner should be able to complete a 20-minute run-walk workout.
For example, walk for three minutes, run for one minute, and repeat five times to total 20 minutes. As you get fitter, just walk a little less and run a bit more. In time, you'll be able to run the entire way without stopping.
Less skeletal stress
Running can be hard on your joints, especially if you are muscular or overweight. When you run, your feet hit the ground with a force equal to about eight-times your bodyweight. That’s a lot of stress if you weigh 140 lbs. But, if you tip the scales are 200 lbs. plus, all that impact could cause injuries.
Walking is a low-impact activity which means it’s much easier on your joints. Using a run-walk timer and alternating between running and walking will take stress off your joints so that you can enjoy pain-free workouts. For example, run for five minutes, walk fast for two minutes, and repeat four times to total 28 minutes. This will be much easier on your joints than running the entire distance.
To get fitter, you need to run further. However, if you are already close to your limits, running further could be too much of a challenge. As a result, you may find yourself in a fitness rut. Very frustrating! Get around this problem by adding walking intervals to your runs. This will increase the duration of your workout without making your runs dramatically harder.
For example, if 40 minutes is your maximum running duration, run for 20 minutes, walk for ten minutes, and then run for another 20 minutes. Your workout is now 50 minutes long. Then, over the coming weeks, shorten your walk break by one minute and increase the length of your first run by one minute. In just a few weeks you’ll be able to run the whole way. Use your running timer to make tracking these changes as easy as possible.
Increase your running speed
One of the best ways to increase running speed is interval training. For example, if you usually run four miles in 40 minutes, averaging 10-minutes per mile, you could run four one-mile intervals at 8-minute per mile pace. This would improve both your fitness and running speed.
Walking between running intervals will stop you from cooling off too much, provide an additional cardio workout, and can even speed up recovery. Walk for half as long as each running interval, so if you run for eight minutes, walk for four minutes to recover. Use a Gymboss running timer to regulate your work to rest periods.
Psychologically easier long workouts
If you are training for a marathon, or even a 10k, a lot of your workouts will revolve around long runs. You’ll have to push yourself to run progressively longer distances to prepare for your chosen event. Long runs aren’t just physically demanding; they are mentally tough too.
Using a running timer, break up long runs with brief walking breaks. This will make your workout psychologically easier without making it any less effective. Walking for one minute every mile is just one way to implement this strategy.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with steady-state running, run-walk workouts can be equally beneficial. Using your Gymboss as a run-walk timer is not cheating! In fact, adding walking to your running workouts could help you achieve even higher levels of fitness and performance while reducing your risk of injury and burnout.