After my last half-marathon in October, I told myself I would continue with semi-long runs on the weekends ranging from 10-15km. That way, when I wanted to train for my next race I would be ready! Well…that didn’t happen. I started my New Rules of Lifting for Women program and my running sort of dwindled down to a maximum of 5 km runs. So now that I’ve restarted my half-marathon training for my upcoming race on March 22, I am finding myself struggling to get back to those longer runs.
My goal finish for the half-marathon is 2:15. A typical long run pace for me is around 11 minutes per mile which would put me at a finish time of roughly 2:25. I ran my first, and fastest, half marathon in 2:24. During my training last summer, I constantly wondered, how did I run that first half marathon at such a fast pace. (Fast being a relative term, I know I’m not fast, but fast for me). I felt like I was going to die during that race and I took multiple walk breaks. At the time of that race, I had no idea about pacing. I didn’t even wear a watch, I was just completely winging it! Then suddenly, I had an AHA moment!
Unintentionally, during my first race, I was using a run-walk method. The Run-Walk Method was invented by Jeff Galloway. The method is very simple – you run for a while, walk for a while and repeat.
The idea is that you can reduce fatigue, conserve your resources and recover faster. Therefore, you will actually run faster than if you ran the entire time. Jeff’s website states that you can speed up an average of 7 minutes during a half-marathon with run-walk vs running the whole time.
That all sounds great but there’s one problem. Stigma. There’s a stigma around walking when you’re a runner. Walking can be seen as failing. I know that’s the way I view myself when I take walk breaks. But I’m going to work on putting that mentality aside. Walking is not failing.
Jeff Galloways’ website is great at helping you figure out exactly what pace you should run at and what run/walk pattern is best for you. The first thing you need to do is complete a “Magic Mile”. This is basically a test of your current running pace. What do you do?
- Complete a 1 mile slow run warm up
- Do a few acceleration gliders (slowly increase pace then slowly decrease pace)
- Run 1 mile about as hard as possible (time this mile as your “magic mile”)
- Walk 5 minutes then slow jog for the rest of your run
Today, I completed my magic mile. I did it in 8:30. (told you I wasn’t fast)
Once you know your magic mile time you can use a few formulas (or let the website do it for you) to figure out your pace times:
For your 5km pace time add 33 seconds to your magic mile time (8:33 min/mile)
For 10km pace time multiply your magic mile time by 1.15 (9:46 min/mile)
For Half-Marathon pace time multiple your magic mile time by 1.2 (10:12 min/mile)
For Marathon pace time multiply your magic mile time by 1.3 (11:03 min/mile)
Then based on your minute/mile time you can use this chart to determine your run/walk ratio:
Walk Break Ratios
|8 min/mile||Run 4 min/walk 35 sec|
|9 min/mile||Run 4 min/walk 1 min|
|10 min/mile||Run 3 min/walk 1 min|
|11 min/mile||Run 2 min/walk 30 sec|
|12 min/mile||Run 2 min/walk 1 min|
|13 min/mile||Run 1 min/walk 1 min|
|14 min/mile||Run 30 sec/walk 30 sec|
|15 min/mile||Run 30 sec/walk 45 sec|
Based on this, during my long runs I would be running 3 minutes/walking 1 minute. When I see that, I can’t help but think that’s a lot of walking. But hey, Jeff Galloway has helped millions of runners achieve their goals. I think it’s at least worth a try. (Although, I think I am going to do run 4 min/walk 1 min). If I don’t end up liking it, I can always go back to my previous system – which consisted of running until I couldn’t run any longer, walking and breathing heavily, feeling defeated that I had to stop and then forcing myself to start running again. As I type that out, I realize this run/walk thing might work after all.
Have you ever tried using the run/walk method?