WENDY WINN, FOUNDER OF CUSTOM PERFORMANCE
Jeff Galloway founded and promotes the “run, walk, run” method, mostly to introduce runners to running or runners to distance at a graduated rate.
According to Galloway, his Principles behind Run Walk Run are: “Continuous use of a muscle will result in quicker fatigue, so the longer the run segment, the more fatigue. Run Walk Run allows for conservation of resources, quicker recovery, less stress on the ‘weak links, and reduced core body temperature, all while maintaining the ability to enjoy endorphins. It can also be used as a form of interval training.”
Clients at Custom Performance use the run/walk strategy under the supervision and instruction of the physical therapists to progress return-to-run loading after injury, cover long distances in marathon training, and increase general endurance. Recently, I re-discovered a largely underutilized run/walk application: intervals for speed.
Run/walk can be set at any interval (for example run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute), and therefore can be adjusted based on ability. It’s perfect for getting a little faster pushing yourself out of a little rut! I recently put my theory to the test by increasing my pace by 20 seconds per mile on a 3:1 interval. I was able to push the pace a little and feel faster overall!
There are a few important caveats. We often see runners who are using run/walk as a return-to-run progression or to cover longer distances thinking they can “take advantage” of the walk break. They then push on the pace at run intervals. This is what I described above, but the difference is in the purpose: this leads to an unintentional speed workout!
This tactic isn’t for injured runners, but if you are looking to improve your “cruising” pace and want to introduce yourself to speedwork, give it a try!