Most people who know me, and most of my athletes, are aware that I support run/walk/run intervals as developed by Olympian Jeff Galloway. Not only can RWR intervals help you recover quicker, but they can also help you continue running when you’re down for the count otherwise.
I mean, if someone told me I had to run three miles “without walk breaks” right now, I’d have to throw the towel in. A solid 30+ lbs and 32 weeks pregnant means I have to readjust my running style constantly, and thankfully, RWR intervals have given me the ability to continue running into my third trimester.
You don’t have to be pregnant to take advantage of Galloway’s RWR method, though! Consider these top five reasons why this is a great strategy for any runner.
Run/Walk/Run Intervals Can Help Keep Your Weight In Check. A lot of people start running because they want to lose weight. Optimal fat burning territory is about 65% of your maximum heart rate, and taking those short walk breaks can help you stay in such a range. Plus, RWR intervals are considered a form of high intensity interval training. HIIT workouts are known for helping people continue burning calories after they are done working out!
Run Faster with Run/Walk/Run Intervals. Seems crazy, right? However, muscles begin to recover a bit when you take a walk break. Allowing muscles to recover, even if it’s just a tiny bit, could promote a faster pace.
Coach Perspective: When I use RWR during this pregnancy, I run nearly three minutes faster. If I reserve to “run the whole time,” my pace is over 16 minutes. Otherwise, I can run about 13:19.
Injuries are much less frequent when utilizing Run/Walk/Run Intervals. When utilizing RWR, your muscles begin to recover during your training run or race, which can cut down on muscular injuries. In addition, runners can avoid overuse injuries by using the RWR method. Stress reactions/fractures, tendinitis, ITBS, and more are often the result of over-training. A quick walk break will do your body good and take some of the pressure of problematic areas!
Run/Walk/Run Permits You to Carry On After Long Runs. Sitting in a bath of ice after a long training run of at least 12 miles will likely feel good regardless, but with RWR intervals, it may not be a necessity. By letting the recovery process begin during the run, athletes may feel significantly more refreshed after completing several consecutive miles.
Coach Perspective: So many interested athletes come to me and are worried that they can’t commit to training for the half or full marathon. Run/Walk/Run permits even a 18-20 mile run followed by errands and more, for most people. Rather than spend hours recovering, RWR adopters can get back to other tasks almost immediately.
Run/Walk/Run Intervals Can Help EVERYONE Become A Runner! Beginning a new training program or starting your journey as a runner can be overwhelming and challenging. For individuals who are overweight, pregnant, newly postpartum, or returning from an injury, running may seem impossible. Using RWR intervals makes running possible for everyone. Regardless if someone is running their first mile or tenth marathon, RWR intervals continue to making running accessible.
Common Run/Walk/Run Myths – BUSTED
Taking walk breaks is cheating. Nope! Taking walk breaks is smart. Unless you are competing in a walking division where running is not permitted, you aren’t cheating anyone or anything.
Walk breaks are only for people who aren’t “real” runners. False. Walk breaks are for some of the best runners out there. Many runners have qualified for Boston using the RWR interval method.
If you take walk breaks, it’s because you can’t handle “running the whole time.” Nope. If you take walk breaks, it’s not because you “can’t” do something – it’s because you want to do what is best for yourself, your lifestyle, and your health. Go for it.
Interested in training using Run/Walk/Run intervals? Visit the Run Far 2 PR Run Coaching page to get started! Courtney is an experienced runner as well as an RRCA Certified Running Coach and Race Director. Make this your best season yet – train with a coach!