Tips for a Successful Walk Run Marathon


A little boy that is standing in the grass

Whether you’re new to running or a veteran runner, the run/walk technique can be a powerful, effective tool for safely improving your endurance and pace. Ultimately, you may be able to improve race times if you choose to participate in them.

Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don’t have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. Some experienced runners also use run/walk as a strategy for increasing their overall mileage, completing endurance races, and reducing their injury risk.

Getting Started

A person jumping in the air

The run/walk method is a simple and effective method to avoid injury, boost motivation for running, and improve endurance. Follow these basic steps to get started with your run/walk program. Later, you can add pace variations if you want.

Use a Warm-Up Routine

Jim McGuinness et al. walking down the street

Warm up with a five-minute walk, then complete a few dynamic stretches. When your warm-up is complete, run for a short segment and then take a walking break. Beginners might start by alternating very short run segments with longer walks.

Stick to Your Goals

Keep repeating your run/walk pattern until you’ve covered your goal distance or time. For example, if you want to run/walk for 16 minutes, you can run/walk at a 1:7 ratio for two cycles. Make sure that you use proper form on both your run and walk segments.

Avoid Fatigue

Start your walk portion before your running muscles get too tired. This step allows your muscles to recover instantly, which extends the time and distance that you can cover. If you wait until you’re very fatigued, you’ll end up walking slowly and it will be difficult to start running again.

Use Technology

Use a watch or other device to time your intervals. A simple running watch such as the Timex Ironman has an interval timer feature. Another product that is a favorite among run/walkers is the Gymboss, a small, easy-to-use interval timer that can clip onto your shorts, shirt, jacket, or hat. It beeps loudly to signal when to start and stop your intervals.

Stick to a Good Pace

Focus on keeping a good pace on your walking segments. Make sure you’re not taking a leisurely stroll. You should use good walking form and pump your arms so that your heart rate stays elevated. That way, you’ll still be getting a good cardiovascular workout and it will make the transition back to running easier. If you relax too much during your walk intervals, it can be tough to get back to running.

Build on Your Success

As you continue with your run/walk program, try to extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time. Once you can successfully run for long stretches, don’t feel as if you have to abandon the run/walk method. Some long-distance runners use it in training runs and races to help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.

Set Your Optimal Pace

How fast you run and how fast you walk during each interval depends in part on your reason for using the walk/run method. Some use the walk/run method to build enough endurance to eventually run continuously. Others, however, use the walk/run method to improve race finish times.

These are some tips to successfully do the run walk marathon.

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