Tips for Your Walk Breaks While Run/Walking

Some beginners start out using a run/walk technique because they don't have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. Here are some tips to get the most out of your walk intervals.


Don't wait too long to start your walk interval.

You should start your walk portion before your running muscles get too tired. This will allow your muscles to recover instantly, which extends the time and distance that you can cover. Some beginners think, "I'm just going to keep running until I can't anymore, and then take a walk break." But that strategy usually backfires. If you wait until you're very fatigued, you'll end up walking slowly and it will be difficult to start running again.


Maintain good form.

When walking, don't lose your good running form. Make sure you keep your arms at a 90 degree angle – don't drop them to your side and walk casually. Stand tall and don't allow yourself to hunch over. Keep your stride short, so you're not putting a lot of stress on your hamstrings and your shin muscles.


Walk briskly.

Don't be tempted to take it easy and slow down too much during your walk breaks. Keep swinging your arms and walk with a purpose. It's not a recovery walk. You want to keep your heart rate elevated so it's easy to transition back to running. It's also tough mentally to get back to running if you're casually walking during your walk breaks.


Use a timing device with a beeper.

You don't want to be constantly looking at your watch to know when you need to start your next interval. Not only does that get annoying and tiring, but you could easily forget to check and miss an interval. Use a timing device such as a Gymboss, which beeps to signal when it's time to switch. It also has a vibration feature if you don't like the constant beeps. 

If you really don't like timing devices, plan your routes so that you can use regular landmarks, like street lights or blocks, to plan out your run/walk intervals.


Adjust your walk schedule, as necessary.

You may need to alter your walk break frequency to adjust for breaks in your training, course conditions, and weather conditions. For example, some run/walkers like to run the downhills and walk the uphills, which may throw off your timing schedule. If the weather is hot and humid, you may need (and should take) more frequent walk breaks.

You don't have to stick to a rigid walk break schedule for it to be effective. Feel free to take more frequent walk breaks if you the conditions call for them.

Also see: Beginners' Guide to Run/Walk
Am I Allowed to Walk During a Race?
5 Reasons to Try Run/Walk

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