Runners World Articles: Archives
The Pause That Refreshes: Used right, walk breaks
can whisk you to a marathon PR
Walk breaks aren't just for slowpokes anymore. Sure, they may have
started as tool to help people simply finish a race. But what many
people fail to realize is that walk breaks can actually help you
ran faster - even if you're a sub-3 hour marathoner.
It may sound counterintuitive to stop and walk in the middle of
a race, but I've spoken to scores of runners who set PRs in the
marathon by doing just that. Walk breaks work by reducing the intensity
of your run. This conserves resources during the first half of a
race, so you'll be able to speed up at the end. You'll allow your
muscles to recover while continuing to make progress.
Walk breaks offer a psychological benefit, too, because they divide
the marathon into a series of manageable chunks. One sub-3-hour
runner explained it this way: "Instead of thinking, at 20 miles,
that I had 6 more miles to go, I was saying to myself, 'One more
mile until my break.' I always felt that I could go one more mile."
Finally, walk breaks allow you to recover faster after your marathon.
In my experience, walk/run marathoners are usually running normally
2 to 3 days after even a hard marathon.
How long and how often? I recommend the following advice until
18 miles in the marathon. After that, you can reduce or eliminate
walk breaks, depending on how you feel.
The Pause That Refreshes (Continued
If you find it hard to resume running after a walk break, you're
starting your walk breaks too late in the run. The most important
walk breaks are the early ones. If you have trouble resuming running
during a race, try shuffling along as a break instead of walking.
Remember to be courteous: To avoid impeding those behind you, always
move to the side of the road before you start walking.
First-time marathoner: Follow the pattern you've used in training,
walking 1 minute for every 3 to 5 minutes of running.
Experienced marathoner: Use the guidelines in the chart below,
according to your time goal.
Because you'll still be moving forward, a 1-minute walk break will
only slow your overall pace-per-mile by 15 to 20 seconds, depending
on how fast you walk. Take this into account when you decide what
pace you'll have to run between breaks. Practice this on long runs
and it will become second nature.
Walk This Way
Marathon walk breaks vary, depending on your time goal. Here's
Time Goal Strategy
5:30 or slower 1-2 min. of walking after every 3-4 min. of running
5:00 to 5:29 1 min. of walking after every 4 to 5 min. of running
4:30 to 4:59 1 min. of walking after 6-7 min. of running
4:00 to 4:29 1 min. of walking after 7-8 min. of running
3:30 to 3:59 1 min. of walking after every mile
3:16 to 3:29 30 sec. of walking after ever mile
3:08 to 3:15 15 sec. of walking after every mile
2:50 to 3:07 10 sec. of walking after every mile
For Other Races...
Walk breaks aren't just for the marathon. Even 5K runners can use
them. Here's a guide for first-timers:
5K to 10K: Take a 30- to 60-second walk break every 1/2 to
10K to 20K: Walk at least 30 seconds each mile, for at lest
the first half of the race.
20K plus: Walk at least 60 seconds every mile, for at least
the first half of the race.
World, October 2000, p. 44
Home | Site
Map | Contact Us
About Jeff | Training
| Resources | Nutrition
| Training Groups
| Retreats | Merchandise
Copyright © 2003, JFG, Inc.
Direct comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org