You may have heard about the run/walk combination concept before, but here’s why it works!
Stress and rest are the foundations of all training programs. Stress makes us stronger. Rest provides recovery and a rebuilding improvement phase.
A 1-minute brisk walk after 10 minutes of running provides a phase of active rest. Active rest keeps the runner moving forward. This active rest helps flush lactic acid out of system. As we approach our anaerobic threshold (85% of our maximum heart rate) our body starts producing lactic acid. This leaves us heavy- legged with a queasy stomach. Run-walk combinations will help dissipate this lactic acid build up.
Running/walking distributes the workload to various muscles, potentially helping to delay fatigue. Walk breaks prevent a slow down in the long run, keeps the pace consistent and minimizes injuries. Sports medicine professionals all encourage stretching, because it yields supple muscles with improved range of motion. A fast, brisk walk break provides a gentle and specific stretch to the leg muscles.
Run-walk combinations should be practiced both on long run days and on race day. By alternating walking and running from the start, there’s virtually no limit to the distance you can cover!
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John Stanton is the President and Founder of the Running Room. He is the author of 10 books about running, walking and family fitness.