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Has anyone tried walking during a Marathon? Galloway suggests that walking for a minute every couple of miles (for the first 15 to 18 miles) can actually result in a faster time for most people. I've never run a marathon but it's something I'm thinking about, and the idea of walking during a race seems counter-intuitive. Any thoughts?
As a veteran of 13 marathons, my best being 2:56, I would say that, if you need to walk often during a marathon, you're not in shape to run one. Perhaps a brief walk toward the end (if you're "hitting the wall"), but certainly not every couple of miles. When I did the Ironman, Hawaii, I started walking briefly after 10 miles of the marathon, every couple of miles, but that was an Ironman event.That marathon took 4 hours, my total time being 13:06:44.
I actually walk alot during the marathon. I run for a certain amount of minutes and walk for one. I have a friend who has been doing this all the time and she trained me to do it. She has been in many marathons and always gets in at a goodtime. I tried running the entire time but my body just wasn't up to it. Now I run better and my body isn't totally wasted at the end. And I STILL get a great work out. I just run for 5-10 minutes, then walk for one, and repeat for the whole race. My time has actually improved.
The big advantage of brief walk breaks is that they reduce the lactic acid levels in your muscles, so you last longer before "hitting the wall" and you greatly reduce the stiffness that comes on a day or two after the race. As Galloway says, if you want to use walk breaks, you need to include them in your training and stick to a fixed schedule, especially at the start of the runs; if you wait too long before the first walk break, the lactic acid levels will already have built up and it will be difficult to get them down again. The hard part is resisting the temptation to make the breaks longer towards the end of the run! Purists don't like the idea of walk breaks in a running race, but they definitely work!
I strongly disagree with the previous response stating that people who take walking breaks are not in shape for a marathon.
There are many strong and fit people who walk an entire marathon without taking running breaks. As a racewalker,I walk 26.2 in 5 hours.
I am one of the marathon coaches for the American Stroke Association's Train To End Stroke program. Our other coach is a runner and veteran of over 40 marathons and several Iron Man competitions. (He is also a Galloway program alum.)
We coach all our runners to use the run/walk method. some have learned racewalking technique from me and use it on their walk breaks. Others did not take the class but did learn a few tips on how to get the most bang for their buck on walk breaks.
The bottom line is this. By taking 1 minute walk breaks during distance running, you give your muscles a chance to stretch out and loosen up, and you save your joints from the impact of running. This helps the runner beat fatigue and finish their race at a good pace with a smile.
I have used short walk breaks twice in a marathon. About 3 years ago took 20 second walk breaks every mile and ran about 3:13. I don't think I could have done any better running all the way, and I felt better than usual in the 12 to 20 mile range. I recently ran a training marathon using the 20 second walk breaks and ran about 3:28. I find that it works pretty well. With the short walk you catch up to the people you are running with in less than a quarter mile with little extra effort.
I now use short walk breaks in almost every marathon (my times are 3:18-3:30). I use them to make sure I get my water down and to use different muscles for a few moments. I only walk for 15-20 seconds, but that seems refreshing in the middle of a long race. How freqently I take the breaks depends on the race conditions and how how I'm feeling that day (if it's hot, I may walk ever other water stop (every 3-4 miles during the middle of the race to stay hydrated). The trick is, by mile 20-21, instead of hitting the wall I'm usually feeling good; I take no more walk breaks from that point and usually negative split my way to the finish.
My very first marathon this year was the Nike 26.2. I am a walker, as I cannot run due to years of bodybuilding and knee problems. During our training season, several of the runners that were injured, walked with our group. Everyone assumes that walking is easy until they walked with us. Keeping an average pace of 15:00 min mile is different than runners walk breaks. They had a new found respect for the walkers.
Some of us cannot run, but at least we are out there and doinig our best walking the course. BTW, Team in Training Greater Los Angeles Chapter has a 100% finish rate with their program which teachs run/walk splits.
The first time I walked in a marathon (and I'm not a die-hard marathon guy) was when I used the race as a 'train-up' for the Atacama Crossing, a 150-mile stage race. I was really surprised how high my energy levels stayed during the marathon, and would definitely recommend alternating running and walking for beginning marathoners.
I wouldn't intentionally set out to walk. Listen to your body and if you feel like you need to walk, then walk. But start running again when you feel ready. However, I usually slow to a walk when I grab a water at the water stops, and then resume my pace.
My wife and I have run several half marathons but never a full marathon. I've tried the run / walk principle but seem to "cramp up" when I do. It seems to work better for me to just keep running no matter how slow I drag myself. I drink plenty of water and I've tried run/walking right from the start as well as run/walking toward the middle to end of the run.
Anyone else seem to experience cramping when applying the run / walk technique?
I think the key to using Galloway's program effectively is to use the run-walk method as the basis for your training, as well as your race. My husband ran his first ever marathon (Boston 2003 - part of a sponsored charity group which is why he didn't have to qualify) in 4:01 using Galloway's program for six months up to and including the marathon. I believe the model is to run a mile, walk a minute.
The primary focus of Galloway's training , especially for neophytes, is to remain injury-free. I believe his goal is that his followers will continue to run marathons for years in better condition using the run-walk method.
I use a rule of thumb of running until a water break. I then slow down, grab water and walk until I finish drinking it (20 sec?), then get going again. So, maybe 20 sec walk every 2 miles and I have finished strong with negative splits every race.
I think that is not what Galloway is recommending but, I just think it's too difficult to make yourself walk 10 minutes into a marathon. I tried but, the tide of people just kept pulling me along and I didn't do my first stop until mile 7.
I'm sure one might feel better at the end of a marathon if they incorporate 20 seconds of walking per mile and the recovery might be easier. However, I'd be surprised if one could realistically break 3 hours using this method, since one must average ~6:50 mile to run a 3 hr. marathon and the walks would probably just break the rhythm. That being said, I imagine most runners no matter what their level would fail to maximize their time performance by using the walking method. However, if your goal is simply to finish and "feel good" at the end, you probably should walk a lot during your marathons.
If any of you have broken 3 hours with the Galloway method, please respond and let us know how you did it.
Jan 1, 2002 I said my running goal for the year was to run my first marathon and qualify for Boston. My husband gave me Jeff Galloway's book, and off I went. I was a decent age-group runner, but had never raced further than a 10K and my longest training run ever was a 1/2 marathon that I really hadn't been ready for. I tried the walk breaks suggested by Galloway, but I hated them. I really had trouble getting going again. After a month of it, I stopped walking during training runs.
I eventually found the training programs on Runner's World.com and followed the one for advanced runners. Since I was 43 at the time, I needed to run under 3:50 to qualify for Boston. I calculated my pace and splits based on 3:40, figuring that gave me a 10 minute window to screw up. The pace was 8:24, and since my fastest 5K pace ever had been 6:57 and only a few months earlier, I figured it was doable. I wrote my spits for everymile upside down on the back of my number so I could flip it up and check at every mile marker how I was doing.
I did find it hard to drinkk from cups without stopping; so, I stopped completely (no walking) and drank and then continued on. I ended up running 3:45 in the pouring rain and was euphoric.
Boston was a dream come true.
I think you need to experiment with walking and see if it will work for you. THere are enough people out there swearing by the method to indicate it has merit. It just is probably not for everyone.