Culture

Ask the Penguin: Run/Walk Half Marathon

Dear Penguin I have been running for about a year now and can comfortably get to 4-4.5 miles in one run. I attempted to do your Half-Marathon Run program in “Marathoning for Mortals” and found that I couldn’t progress in the long runs each week as the schedule recommended. After…

Dear Penguin

I have been running for about a year now and can comfortably get to 4-4.5 miles in one run. I attempted to do your Half-Marathon Run program in “Marathoning for Mortals” and found that I couldn’t progress in the long runs each week as the schedule recommended.

After re-reading some of the chapters, I decided to switch to the Run/Walk training program. So now my dilemma is that I feel like I should be doing much more. Running for 3 min and walking for 2 min, even if I do several miles, seems too easy. So my question is how do you switch between the two? Or do you need to get through the Run/Walk program and then move back over to the Run program?

My first half marathon is in September and although I’d love to run the whole thing, I just want to finish strong WITHOUT injury.

Any help is appreciated!

What a great question. You’ve really thought this through.

Let’s go back to basics for a second. The reason why the run/walk program works so well, and the reason so many people are successful using it is because it’s the safest way to train and race. And because nearly everyone is FASTER using a run/walk than trying to run the whole distance. So, some kind of run/walk interval is the way to go. And, it can NEVER be TOO easy.

What you may have to figure out for yourself is exactly what run/walk interval works best for you. There’s no magic to any particular interval sequence. We’ve given the ones that we think work best for most people most of the time, but there’s always room to experiment and make changes.

My favorite interval is the run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes. I feel like I can go forever using that interval. But, some days if I’m running a hilly course I switch to a 3/2 sequence. Sometimes, if I’m feeling frisky, I might change to a 5/1 sequence. And once in a great while if I’m feeling the need for a challenge I’ll try a 9/1 sequence.

The keys are to listen to your body and have fun!

john_aerostitchWaddle on,
John

John “the Penguin” Bingham, Competitor Magazine columnist
Author, The Courage to Start, No Need for Speed, Marathoning for Mortals and Running for Mortals.

Have a question for John? E-mail it to thepenguin@johnbingham.com.