Monday, March 28, 2011

No more counting left-foot-steps when I run

I've been using Jeff Galloway's RunWalkRun method of running (alternating phases of running and walking), and I've been counting the number of times my left foot hits the ground while I run or walk to "measure" the length of each phase. However, continually counting left-foot-steps is tedious and distracting, and I've been hoping there would be a better way to measure the time spent in each phase. My hope has come true. I just bought an interval timer from Jeff Galloway that measures in minutes and seconds the lengths of two laps. One lap is used for running and the other lap is used for walking. I've posted a review of the timer in my runninginjuryfree site.


  1. Kip Condor3/29/2011

    Hi Allen,

    I'm curious as to whether you've made the RunWalkRun method a permanent feature of your runs, or if you're planning to phase it out as your recovery continues. Do you find that you enjoy running more with the walk breaks?

    When I am running on roads I tend to feel like I've failed if I do any walking. I do mix some walks in when I'm trail running, since I'm not yet able to maintain a running pace on some of the hills.

  2. Hi Kip,

    You've asked a good question. I've taken walking breaks on my longer runs for several years, probably about four years. That would be runs of 7-8 miles or longer. I began taking one minute breaks every mile, and I changed to 30 second breaks every half mile. After I had blood clots in January 2009, I found I didn't have the endurance to run for more than short distances, and I had no choice but to take walking breaks. Then, I read on about his RunWalkRun approach to distance running, and that fit in with my recovery. I began with 1-minute running and walking phases but quickly changed to 30-second phases. I advanced to 1-minute phases and then slowly increased the running phase to 90 seconds while keeping the walking at one minute. I've decided to freeze the length of the phases to 70 seconds running and 60 seconds walking while I get my total distance increased to 5 miles for my Monday/Tuesday run, 7 miles for my Wednesday/Thursday run and 10 miles for my Friday/Saturday run.

    The answer to your question depends on how my recovery goes. I'd like to get back to walking breaks the way I used to run them (no breaks up to around 7 miles and 30 second breaks every half mile after that), but but it all depends on how well I recover. I'm getting old and am finding out that I do need more rest. I was around age 71 when I first started taking walking breaks.

    Many runners feel as you do, Kip, that they shouldn't walk at all as they run. For many of us, it's a choice between no walking and doing shorter distances, or taking walking breaks of some kind and doing longer distances. We're all different and have to find out what works for us. I do hope, though, that the stigma attached to mixing walking and running will disappear and that mixing the two will be considered a normal part of running for those who want to mix the two.

  3. Geesh, I can't run if I don't allow myself walk breaks... But I guess I'm not a "serious" runner. I often use the telephone/light pole method when I'm out in neighborhoods - run to one pole, walk to the next. Then run to the next one, walk to the next. It keeps me going!