Friday, June 17, 2005

To walk or not to walk, that is the question!

Actually it really is quite a good question. I spent some time last night surfing, reading blogs, articles etc. on the subject. Opinions vary greatly. I did come up with a few consistent ideas that surfaced during my “research”. So loving lists I have started one:

The decision whether to include walking breaks on long runs depends on:

1. The level of fitness one has.
2. Whether one learned to do this from the beginning or not.
3. How quickly one wants to recover from a long run.
4. The goal that a person has, e.g. do I want to “just finish” or “win” a race.
5. The number and level of injury that a person has had (e.g. “walking wounded” can still train with walk breaks).
6. The weather.
7. How you trained.
8. The general attitude about “running” a race. Some people feel they “have to” run the entire race to be called, e.g. a marathon runner.
9. Whether you believe Galloway’s claims or not.

I am sure there are numerous other reasons whether to walk or not to walk, this list is just a few that I noticed.

I think the biggy for me is point 7. Other than stopping to pee or eat a sports bar I generally didn’t use walking breaks during my marathon training. However during my marathon I DID use walk breaks of 10-30 seconds beginning at the 5K point and almost every 2.5K/1.6M after this for at least the first 2/3 of the marathon (after that I took more and longer breaks because of serious leg cramps).

I think for me it was a big mistake to take so many walk breaks when I wasn’t used to doing this. I broke one of the 10 Commandments of Running, “Thou Shalt Not Try New Running Techniques During a Marathon!”

Back a couple years ago when I weighed 102 kg/225 lbs (Jan. 2003) I COULDN’T run more than a few minutes without taking a walking break (or crawling break). I basically ran/walked for the first couple weeks/months until I could at least run 10-15 minutes without stopping. Then I gave up the walk breaks and just ran as far as I could until I died (hopefully in front of the house door). Now I can routinely run at least the half-marathon distance without any walking breaks.

FOR ME I have pretty much decided that I want to try to RUN my next marathon, if possible without any walking breaks, and this is how I will train. If during my training I discover that I don’t yet have this kind of endurance (or mental fortitude) than I guess I will take some walk breaks, but first when I can't run any further.

Being a person who doesn’t like to just mouth my actions, tomorrow morning is my long run (26K/16M), we’ll see what happens. It will be a grand test, weather expectations are 32C/90F with high humidity. This morning was 20C/68F at 6:00 a.m. so I am going to try to be on the run by 7:00 a.m., whereas I will return before it gets TOO hot!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
3K run (19:19)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 27C/80F, sunny.
Feeling after training: Shoulders a bit sore – I increased the weight I am working out with.

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

Other ramblings:

This weekend is the annual MC White Horses festival (Motorradtreffen) in Weingarten, the town where our garden is located. The MC White Horses are the local motorcycle club and they know how to party! The fest grounds are about a 5 minute walk from our garden so we generally go there to eat at least once. This is not a "Hells Angel", rowdy biker fest, most of the "bikers" are normal citizens who let their hair down once a year. The club has a good reputation of dealling with the occasional troublemaker quickly and quietly, either sending them to pack their bags (many pitch their tents on the lawn next to the fest tent) or to the jail across the street.

I generally try to stay away from the fest at night as I have a lot of old beer-drinking friends in this town who would just love to get "the crazy American" plastered (pretty easy to do, I rarely drink anymore). There is a very good R&R band that plays most every year, which generally stimulates everyone to drink even more, so generally I try to stay away from this scene in order to maintain at least a little self-respect :-]

p.s. This would however be a great place for a RBF get-together! Bring your tent and sleeping bag!

The MC White Horses Motorcycle Fest 2004 Posted by Hello

The "camping area" Posted by Hello

That walking breaks topic is an interesting one. For awhile earlier this year, I was using them on every run. I've since gone back to not taking them except maybe while I'm drinking water or Gatorade during the run. Two things I found that interested me: 1) I DID recover MUCH faster from my long runs while using the breaks - my legs just weren't trashed at all; and 2) my overall pace really didn't slow down much, if at all.
I hadn't read anything suggesting the breaks might actually cause problems - I'll have to look into that! But I plan to do what Lara mentioned and briefly walk during the aid stations at a race.
See? I just *knew* that you wouldn't rest until you had this figured out! And hey, I may have to "pick your brain" pretty soon - my parents have always wanted to do a m/c tour of different spots in Europe, but they don't really want to do a "formal" tour with a group; they routinely ride a few hundred miles in a day, camping out when need be; they're kind of "into it" and don't want to be slowed down by people doing 30 or 50 miles at a time. Anyway, being BMW folks, they have talked about going to Germany and just buying a bike there, and you know, taking off. I don't know if you have experience with any of that, but this looks fun!
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