Sep 08

The first time  I raced in the Ogden Marathon Jeff Galloway, the inventor of Run-Walk-Run, was there as a guest speaker and was also running the marathon with his wife.  We listened to his talk during packet pickup and Brent and I decided to give a modified version a try. 

Ogden Marathon Jeff recommended walking 1 minute for every 4 minutes of running.  Brent and I walked 1 minute for every 1 mile running.  To this date I have run the Ogden Marathon twice, the Portland Marathon, the Salmon Marathon, and the Bizz Johnson Marathon along with 3 Triathlons, 1 Half Ironman, and a number of half marathons.  I have tried running every other marathon the entire way inevitably having to walk quite a bit during the last 4 to 6 miles and taking a huge hit in my overall time.

Coming into the Top of Utah Marathon which is Saturday September 18, 2010 I decided to do a couple of training runs using the run walk method.  I have to say that at my level of fitness I am sold.  The last two 22 milers that I’ve done I have averaged an 8:49 and an 8:48 pace for the 22 miles using the 4 to 1 ratio suggested by Jeff Galloway.  At the end of both of these runs I still had plenty of gas in the tank to get me through the next 4.2 miles.  Matter of fact, my last 5 run intervals were just as fast as my first 5.

Salmon Marathon I have flat feet and bowed legs.  Long distance running is never going to be my best friend.  However, I enjoy the race atmosphere, the challenge, and comradery that is associated with training for and running a marathon.  My feet still hurt after a 22 mile run but after 22 miles, that doesn’t seem like an abnormal thing to me.  My knees and legs, however, feel much better after using the run walk and my pace is faster or near the same as running the entire way.

How can my pace be better?  Think about how much time I can lose at the end of the race after I have hit the wall.  I can easily start walking for 2 to 3 minutes at a time and my run pace isn’t near the same as when I run walk.  My run intervals also start becoming slower and slower.  Those longer walks and shorter runs towards the end of the race can drastically affect my overall time.  Using the run walk, my average pace was the same at mile 22 as it was at mile 2. 

Salmon Marathon 2 Run Walk may not be for everyone.  Obviously runners that can keep up the same pace for the entire 26.2 miles may not want to use this technique.  My buddy Shane for instance can will himself to run the entire way even if he has felt the wall creeping up on him.  He tends to stiffen up and is unable to get back into a good groove if he walks, so he keeps up his steady pace and has yet to run a marathon over 4 hours long.  I have run only 2 under 4 hours and 1 of them was using the modified run walk I mentioned earlier.

I tell a lot of friends that are just getting into running to use the run walk.  Most of them are just wanting to start running to get into shape and lose some weight.  Running will burn calories faster than walking the same distance.  However, if you can run further because you take these walk breaks your are going to get more benefit from your workout.  Start out with 1 to 3 miles and work up mileage or the amount of time in the run interval when you can.

I’m anxious to get to race day to see if I can keep the same pace for an extra 4.2 miles.  My PR is 3:48.  I am hoping to beat that using the run walk at the Top of Utah Marathon, wish me luck.

2 Responses to “Run Walk Marathon Training”

  1. tom Says:

    I’m trying to break 4 hours for a marathon. I’ve run 15 marathons. Trained at a 9:30 pace. I want to try run/walk but am not clear on the intervals. How long should I run then walk?

    I set my watch to 5 minutes run then 30 seconds walk. Is that sound right? My concern is that in order to make up the walk, I’ll have to run 8:30’s, faster than I’ve ever run a marathon before. I have friends who do run/walk but they just walk through the water stations, once a mile or every other mile.

    Help. Any information you can provide would be appreciated.

  2. SwimBikeRun Says:

    I do a 4 minute run and 1 minute walk. You do have to have a pretty good clip during the run but for me the 1 minute rest kept me running well through the end of the race instead of having to walk too much during the last 4 miles. My 3 fastest races have been with this method. I did this method for one of my 4 mile runs during the week and picked up the pace as much as I could on the run portion. This helped me out on my longer runs where I would try going about 10 seconds slower during my runs than I would during the marathon. Here is a link to a calculator that I found. It seems to be pretty close. I always use 20 minute pace for my walk even though my walk is generally faster. Just gives me a little cushion.

    Good luck!

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