“The label of "marathoner" has, from the beginning, been awarded to those who went the distance under their own power, whether they ran, walked, crawled or tiptoed. When you cross that finish line, you've entered an elite group. About one-tenth of one percent of the population has done it. Don't let anyone take that great achievement away from you.” ― Jeff Galloway, Marathon!
Jeff Galloway, a world-class athlete and member of the 1972 Olympic team, popularized the Run Walk Run Method of completing a marathon. Galloway takes the 26.2 mile marathon and breaks it down into a series of 5 minute intervals: Run 4 minutes walk 1 minute. You need to follow this method from the very beginning because you are saving energy. If you wait until you are tired to walk, you have run too far. The Run Walk Run Method is also a flexible method of running a marathon you can adjust the run times and walk times to your fitness level. I have presented a highly simplified version here in my blog. If you are an experienced marathoner you could run for a mile before taking a walk break. If you are a first timer you may only run for 30 seconds before taking a walk break.
Walk breaks work because they are using muscles in different ways from the beginning. Your legs keep their bounce as they are conserving resources. When your calves are used continuously step by step they fatigue relatively soon. By shifting back and forth between running and walking muscles you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity.
I decided to try this method on my upcoming marathon on 4/6th. I ran an hour outside this morning running for 4 minutes and then walking for a minute. I covered 5.9 miles in an hour. I can usually do a 10k in slightly less than an hour, but this would be closer to my goal pace for my upcoming marathon. I was not overly fatigued at the end of the run and I noticed my speed had not fallen off much if any at the end. However, I did found it difficult holding my body back at the beginning of the run, so I plan on doing another practice run tomorrow.
If you desire to learn more about Jeff Galloway and Run Walk Run here is a link to his website:
Have you tried this method?
If so how did it work for you?