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The Run-Walk Training Method For New Runners

Jun 07,2018

The run-walk method, or Galloway method, of training incorporates interval training with periods of walking. This technique was pioneered by Jeff Galloway, an Olympian and running coach, and it can be used whether you are a running newb or a racing veteran. This popular training technique involves running for a set length of time followed by a walking break. This process is then repeated until your run distance or time is completed.

The run-walk method is the perfect method to use to get started with running. It allows for physical and mental breaks throughout a run, helping a runner avoid fatigue and burnout. The benefits of the run-walk technique are:

  • This method breaks up runs into manageable segments, making it easier to complete the run and return the next day ready to go!
  • It reduces muscle and joint strain leading to fewer injuries. If something starts to hurt, take a break and walk it out rather than pushing through the pain.
  • You get endorphins immediately every time you stop for a walk break, making you feel better during your run.
  • By taking walk breaks, you reduce your overall core temperature making it more comfortable to continue running for longer periods of time.
  • By taking breaks and reducing the strain on your body, you will recover quickly after your run. This type of running won’t knock you out for the rest of the day.

If you are already a more seasoned runner, the run-walk method can actually help improve your finish times across all races! This training technique has been tested out by many marathoners and elite runners, and most runners report improved times and/or more enjoyment during their runs. Don’t believe us? Check out this article from Runner’s World.

So, how do you get started? The run-walk method is great for beginners because it requires little to no equipment. All you’ll need is a watch or timer and yourself! Before you begin your run, complete a five to ten minute walking warm up and decide how long you are going to run for followed by how long you are going to walk for. As you start running, if the amount of time you spend running is too easy or too hard, adjust your ratio of running to walking accordingly. For example:

Start off running for one minute followed by walking for one minute, or a 1:1 ratio.

If that’s easy, run for two minutes followed by a one minute walk, or a 2:1 ratio.

More seasoned runners may find that they can run for eight minutes plus without a break. As long as you run-walk for at least thirty minutes, you will reap the most benefit from this workout. The longer you can push yourself to keep running, the longer your heart rate remains elevated, thus increasing your cardiovascular health and aerobic capabilities. Studies have found that getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day is one of the best improvements you can make to your overall health.

The great part about this training method is that you can personalize it to you and your current fitness level. Even runners who have been injured can ease back into running by using Galloway’s run-walk method and reduce their chance of reinjury. The entire workout becomes customizable to you, making it more likely that you’ll enjoy the workout and continue working out in the future.

Some tips to get you started:

  • Invest in a good pair of running/walking shoes. A big selling point of the run-walk technique is that it reduces the overall impact of running on your joints and muscles. Having an old or worn-down pair of shoes can negate the benefits, if you aren’t careful.
  • Wear a watch. You will need to pay attention to how much time you are spending running and walking. If you don’t want to have to pay attention to your watch constantly, there are interval watches and timers that will vibrate or make noise at the end of your set time frame.
  • It’s okay to take walk breaks. This will be a bit counterintuitive at first because we’ve all been trained that stopping to walk is a negative thing in running. By taking those breaks, you are enabling your body to run longer than it normally would, and increasing your overall calories burned.
  • The run-walk training method can be completed anywhere-outside or on a treadmill. If you are on a treadmill, please be careful when you adjust the running speeds. The treadmill will take longer to slow down than a person running out on a trail might.

If you would like to learn more about the run-walk technique, head to Galloway’s website here!


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