Walking Makes Me a Runner

I am so ready to run.

Like really, really ready.  Like in my dreams I am running really far and fast.

I’ve taken the last two weeks off to recover from the LEEP but even before that I wasn’t running as much as usual.  First there was the Colposcopy to recover from, then I just was really feeling it.  But now I am.

The sad thing is, my endurance has gone down already!  Thus, I need to start slow and gradually build back up.

I’ve already started to increase my walking distance so my legs get used to covering some ground, over 6 miles on both Saturday and Sunday.

There is definitely something very satisfying about running nonstop for 20, 30, or 90 minutes but I think the walk-run combo is one of the most underrated running techniques.

The plan today is 4 miles.  Run 9 minutes/walk 1 to warm up then run 4/walk 1 for the rest of the time.  This is a pattern that I use a lot, 4 minutes of running goes pretty quick but it’s long enough to get in a rhythm and if I walk fast than my heart rate stays elevated during the “break”.

Another walk/run pattern that I use a lot is a great way to get an “easy” 6 miles in.

Run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute.

Run 9 minutes/walk 1 minute.

Run 8 minutes/walk 1 minute.

All the way down to run 1 minute/walk 1 minute.  By the end of it I’ve run for 53 minutes and walked for 10 for a total workout of 63 minutes and ~6 miles.

This could also be done starting at a 5/1 ratio and going down to a 1/1, equaling 15 minutes of running and 5 minutes of walking-a great short running workout!

When I first started running taking walking breaks was intuitive, as I think is the case for many newbies-you just do whatever you can and then you have to walk for a little while.  I soon fell into the trap of feeling like I needed to run nonstop to become a “real runner”.  I worked up to a nonstop 5k then 4 miles then I had a mental roadblock.  Run for more than 45 minutes? Are you crazy?

Enter run-walk combos and Jeff Galloway.  I played with walking breaks long before being introduced to this world-renowned coach but reading about his methods made me feel like I was a real runner no matter how often I slowed my pace.

Check out why Galloway coaches runners of all levels to take walking breaks.

If you are a runner, do you use walking breaks?  Does it feel like less of a workout when you do?

Gotta run!


  1. I’m not a runner so my entire journey is walking. It was VERY rainy here after work yesterday so I did my time on the treadmill down the hall. Not as much fun but it’s effective.

  2. Not a runner either, but I am trying to work my way up to becoming one. In a typical 30 minute treadmill workout, I’ve worked myself up to running (jogging really, probably) for 10 minutes of the 30. However, if I skip even a couple of days, my endurance goes right to hell. I definitely know what you mean. It’s as if I’m starting from scratch again!


  3. alanna

    I’ve been running on and off since I was 13 and first joined the track team. I’ve also always been a huge walker – logging many miles everyday for as long as I can remember, but the two never worked together until recently. I always ran non-stop, I thought walking was a weakness, as did everyone I know. But last year, I join a local running group (after no running for about ten months). I started reading about different running techniques and I started implementing walking breaks. I loved it. The short break gave me the energy I needed to go farther and faster than without a break. My running buddies didn’t really understand and always left me behind, only for me to eventually fly past them after they burnt out. I still try to explain to the same people that there is no shame in walking – it’s not weakness, it’s wisdom.

  4. Eric

    I use walking breaks in trail running, usually for steep hills (or any hills in really long runs). I first used Galloway’s method when I was training for an ironman. I set my watch timer for 5 minute/1 minute run/walk intervals and it allowed me to run 20 miles without getting too beat up to workout the next day. It’s a great method of training!

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