I have been a run/walker since I started running in 2010. I have done the run/walk with marathons and half marathons and 5Ks. How do I get to the point where I can just run a full 5K? Then work up to running a half marathon and marathon without having to do a run walk.
- Rebecca Shumway
This is a unique situation; rarely have I worked with a walk/run athlete who has such an accomplished resume. This gives you a big advantage—essentially you know you can go the distance, the question is how to apportion your energy.
The progression from a walk/run to a run-only strategy is a natural one. But before giving you some training ideas, let’s affirm a few things: A walk/run strategy does not make you any less an athlete than just running. In fact for many marathoners, it proves to produce a faster finishing time, because it helps with pacing and conserving energy for the later miles. It also gives you a mental break that revives you for your running segments.
I say this not to dissuade you from a full run, but to assure you. Your focus can be on finding the joy in how much you can increase the time of your run segments—and not on when, or if, you have to walk—as you progress.
I do not know what your current running ratio is with regard to time spent in each segment but the progression is pretty simple: increase the run time and decrease the walk time. The running will be harder on your body so expect some soreness. The challenge is to make a gradual transition so that you do not become injured.
- Keep your walk segments the same and add one minute to your run segment for the duration of your workout.
- After two weeks of this routine, you might consider 10-minute segments, increasing the run by one minute while decreasing the walk by the same. So if you are running six, and walking four, spend the next two weeks running seven and walking three. The two weeks after that it becomes eight and two, then nine and one, and before you know it, you have tricked yourself into running the whole thing.
- Stay motivated with a peak segment in one of your weekly workouts; if you are feeling good, see just how long you can continuously run for one segment. Do not make this an everyday thing, we still need to let your body adapt. But it will break up the routine, and give you confidence.
- Stick to flat courses at first, but throw in some hilly courses for some walk/run roulette, (I hope I don’t get a hill for those run segments).
- During the first month, keep your longest run at the same ratio as your current walk/run.
- This will help your body recover during the early training phase.
- When you can run for the whole 5K, you will be ready to begin training for those longer distances. You should be able to follow a regular training schedule for each of those distances, but never hesitate to walk when you need to. It is a sign of intelligence, not failure.
Of course most of this work can be done for you, in the company of friends, on the same mission, with a specific goal race, and with knowledgeable and enthusiastic coaches. My colleague Coach Mallory will be kicking off her spring session of The Fleet Feet No Boundaries Program the weekend of March 25. See the details here: No Boundaries Training Program.
Best of luck in your training, Rebeccca.
- Coach Brendan
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