So yesterday I wrote about how wonderful walk breaks are. After I posted, I headed out for a run and I realized I had forgotten to explain just how to use this method. Your run/walk ratio is going to depend on several factors—how long you’ve been running, what distance you are running, weather conditions, and your overall feeling of wellness on any particular run. Here are some guidelines that you can use to implement the run/walk method into your running routine.
Level 1: Haven’t ran since high school gym class when you almost died in the mile.
I would suggest making sure you are able to walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes comfortably before starting any running program. Once you reach this point, begin implementing running very slowly. I would recommend NOT listening to MUSIC. Why? Boring you say? It’s so important in these beginning phases (all phases really) that you are listening to your body. You don’t want to “take your mind off the running”—you want to be fully present!
- 5 minutes walking to warm up the legs.
- 30 seconds jogging (I know, right? So do-able)
- 2 minutes walk
- Repeat for 20-40 minutes
- 5 minutes walk to cool down
As you start to grow stronger, increase the total time. You can also increase the run time but do it slowly. If 30 seconds gets way to easy for your new fit self, increase the run time by 15-30 seconds every few days. You can leave the walk time the same or decrease it a bit. Sign up for a 5 K or even a 10 K and work up towards that. Putting money down on a race (no matter how little it is) will hold you accountable for your training.
Level 2: Your courtship with running is starting to get a bit more serious. Maybe you brought him/her home for Thanksgiving.
Yay! You completed your first ever 5k or 10k! See!!?? You are a runner! Now its time to increase the run time a little.
- 5 minutes walk to get the blood flowin’ to the legs
- 2 minutes running
- 1 minute walking
- Repeat for 30-60 minutes
- 5 minutes walk to cool down
- Sign up for a little bit longer of race! C’mon, its fun!
Level 3: You consider yourself a runner and kind of start to get moody when you miss a workout.
Now you run regularly. You’ve probably noticed a change in your body composition—read, you feel dang sexy. You’re sleeping better, eating better, and loving life. Time to take it up a notch J
Gradually increase your run/walk ratio. In a typical long training run, I do a 7:15 run and then walk for 45 seconds. In races, I try to keep my walk breaks to the water/food stations. This gives me time to hydrate/refuel and gives my legs a little recovery.
If I’m coming back from an injury, I take it back a few steps. I might run a 5/1 ratio and build from there. No sense in getting over zealous and ending up having to take more time off—time off is a runners worst nightmare, we get cranky. Weather is also take into consideration. Its currently really hot and humid is Seoul. I feel my body temperature rising quite early in my runs. This is my cue to slow down. I shrug it off when I need to take an early walk break and remind myself how much easier running is going to feel in the cool NW air!
Play with it. Don’t be rigid but also push yourself and find the ratio where you can develop some “ease within the effort”. Remind yourself you can do anything for X amounts of minutes. Before you know it, the miles will be flyin’ by!