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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

The benefits of walking!

This post is written more for road and marathon runners. Suffice to say walking, and practicing walking, is even more of a required skill for anything off road and/or ultra distance!

It’s a bit of a “thing” with runners to try to avoid walking. But I wanted to explain today why walking is really useful for our endurance training and on marathon day itself;

  • On long runs walking up hills helps you stay in the right training zone for aerobic/endurance build, if you push yourself to keep running up a hill you effectively are training harder, as if you were running faster - remember the goal for the long runs is to do them super gently :)

  • It’s much, much easier to eat and drink when you walk then whilst running…! Linked to that walking past the water stops at London can be a great strategy and a little walk to make eating a gel or some food a bit easier can work wonders!

  • Walking your recovering in between the short, fast efforts in interval sessions works really well too. The recoveries are all about, well, recovery! So do whatever you need to do to make sure you have your breath back before the next faster rep :)

A run/walk strategy for long runs and the marathon itself can really suit many people. This is often called “Jeffing” after Jeff Galloway who wrote a book on how to run/walk marathons. At the weekend I had one of my private coached runners complete the Rome marathon in under 5 hours by running 90 seconds, and walking 30 seconds for the whole thing to manage an old injury.

  • It’s worth practicing in training if you want to do it, and you can pick any run and walk interval direction or distance to suit you.

  • Walking is a different gait pattern to running so you do need to practice and train a bit to walk efficiently and briskly

  • Run/walking is also a great way to manage any niggles or injuries you might have going into the marathon

  • Pick a run and walk time or distance to stick to and repeat it, this might be something like 8 minutes running, 1 minutes walking or 1km running, 0.5km walking. I’d suggest not making the intervals too long, so 5km running, 1km walking won’t have quite the same benefits

  • Planning the walks and making them part of your strategy can be a great way to break up the distance/time and keep you feeling stronger for longer

  • Don’t be tempted to run fast in the run sections, this isn’t interval training! You still want the running to be aerobic/in the endurance zone

  • Run/walking is a good strategy in it’s own right for a long distance event like a marathon, but to re-iterate you do need to practice it!

The author, smiling, walking by a river

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