Thursday, June 16, 2005

Poll: Taking Walk Breaks During a Long Run?

I have been reading Galloway’s Book of Running...he is a big promoter on taking “walk breaks” on long runs.

I was wondering:

1. How many of you take walk breaks on long runs.
2. Do you think this is a good way to complete a race?
3. Do you know/think that you can really complete a race as fast or faster when you take walk breaks, as Galloway claims?

During my first marathon I took walking breaks (15-30 secs.) at every drink stand, which occured every 2.5K/1.6M beginning at the 5K marker. During my training long runs I took a maximum of 2-3 walk breaks, usually to eat a sports bar. After reading some of Scott Douglas's remarks I wonder if the walk breaks during my first marathon were the CAUSE of my severe muscle cramps, particularily in the hamstring muscles? Of course taking walk breaks when I hadn't trained taking walk breaks was probably a mistake in itself.

My Training Last Night:

Yesterday when I got home from work the sun was shining, the sky blue, temperature about 27C/80F so I decided to take my scooter to the garden (11K/7M) and do some hill running. I tried a new route from the garden to the beginning of the stretch of hills that I wanted to run, it turned out to be almost exactly 3K/1.9M, mostly through the forest bordering the local moor. A week or two ago I turned left and went up the hill, last night I turned right. Wow, what a climb, for almost 12 minutes I wound my way up this truly brutal stretch of asphalt road that led to a (now unused) landfill. I think I was closer to walking than running as I finally made it over the crest. Awesome! I loved it! What a workout!

Anyway I continued on running up and down a series of rolling hills with trail conditions ranging from logging roads to (probably) wildlife paths. I just love running through the forest, particularly when there are hills involved. Anyway I eventually decided I should find a way down from the mountain, as I was starting to feel the results of my workout. This ended up becoming an adventure in orienteering (or disorientation), minus the map and compass. I really had no idea how the trails went, so had to trust my sense of direction. Luckily this is pretty good, I basically headed down (logical) in the general direction that I figured would get me back to the garden. I popped out of the wood line at the bottom of the mountain about 300 meters (1000 feet) from the trail that I took up the mountain. Not bad!

I headed along a couple fields that I knew would bring me back along the moor and to the garden. I ended up running almost 1 ½ hours so I would guess this would be around 14K/8.7M, the distance that I usually run. I was comfortably tired and just feeling just totally satisfied after my hill workout.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:28:10 - hill training.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 27C/80F, sunny, beautiful!
Feeling after training: Excellent!

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 5 kg/11 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

My saturday running group takes 1 minute walk breaks every 10 minutes. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to run the entire 10K without the walk breaks, but I did. On the other hand, a woman from the group who took the breaks during the race came in just one minute behind me and we run about the same pace. It's curious.
Hmmm, Scott's really got an axe to grind.

I plan on walking for 10 or so seconds at water stops because otherwise all the water would be up my nose. I have found, many times, that the people I observe ahead of me who are taking what appear to be planned walk breaks (as opposed to walking because they're exhausted) are hard for me to catch. Sometimes I don't.

In my recent, difficult 10K, when I finally had to walk, my leg muscles immediately began to tighten and it was very hard to get running again. Of course at that point I was not so much taking a break as collapsing.

Interesting subject.
A 5k - no walk breaks. A 10k sometimes yes, sometimes, no. If the 10k is during my weeks of training for a longer run, say a half, I will do the walk breaks just to retain my pattern for my longer race training.

I do 8-10run with 1-2 walk depending on how I feel that day or where the hills are.

As for timing. I have finished faster using run/walk than running straight for distances 10k or over.
It's weird, I never used walk breaks (of course I never ran more than 13.1 miles in a row, either) before The Egg. It didn't occur to me to use them as a tool. You know, I was "running", so to me, that's "not walking". The thing is, though, is that that's just *me*. That's how I did things, but not because it was the right way or anything, just because it's what I thought I was supposed to do. Years ago, when I ran the first time, it was more like walking, and I'd take a running break. The way I see it, any way that gets you from point A to point B, that's the way to do it. Walking, jogging, running, rolling.

So, I guess now it occurs to me that you really weren't trying to figure out if walk breaks were the way to *finish* a marathon, so much as to *perform* a certain way in the marathon, so there are nuances there I can't speak to. I do think it's an interesting question, though, and if anyone can figure it out, I'll bet it's you!
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