Friday, June 19, 2015

The 30-Second Walk Break

Today, I'm sharing tips from Jeff Galloway on the run/walk interval process. Here, he discusses walk breaks and avoiding the slow-down towards the end of a race. Enjoy! 
The 30-second Walk Break
  Jeff Galloway's Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:
  1. Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run. 
  2. Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often. 
  3. Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.
Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.
The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 seconds. Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away. After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.
Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:
  • A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race. 
  • As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi. 
  • This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.
Avoiding the Slow-down
Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds (or in some cases even less) while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits with even less fatigue and even faster times.
The Bottom Line
If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.
How do you prevent the slow-down during the end of a race?


  1. When I am NOT injured, I don't usually start my walk intervals till at least 3 or 5 miles into the race ( depending on the distance). I have not tried running in a while so I imagine I will be starting from scratch again. Possibly even doing a walk-run, walk-run till I get back into it.

    1. Same here - I usually wait a while into a race before starting walk intervals. I like Jeff Galloway's methods and plan to incorporate them into upcoming races. :)

  2. Great info.
    while I do not take walk breaks I have always wondered about them.

    1. I understand! :) I did a walk/run method during a half marathon when I was injured and it definitely helped me finish the race!

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