More than likely, you are a good candidate for intentional and purposeful walk breaks integrated during training runs and, for some of you, even while racing. You may have been told that walking during a run is a sign of weakness, but let’s shift the mindset from toughing it out to viewing it as an aspect of smart training. The ‘just don’t walk’ mentality takes the control away from you, the athlete. It leaves you with only one option -- brute toughness -- and isn’t always your best path forward.
Walk breaks allow you to reestablish the elements of great form, maintain forward motion, and have a chance to bring your heart rate down. The aim is to never take a bad step whether during training or racing. Being able to manage global stress will allow you to go farther and harder in training and racing over time.
This means that a proper walk break is purposeful and focused - great posture, strong striding, and thinking about driving off the big toe of the rear foot. You can then transition those elements into good running.
Our mantra at Purple Patch is:
“Run as well as you can, as long as you can, as often as you can.”
Here are some tips to find the best method for you:
- For the beginning runners and those returning to running post-injury, before the run you can establish a walk-run pattern that will allow you to have a predetermined time to break for your purposeful walk.
- When your form begins to deteriorate, it is time for a walk break to reestablish the elements of good form.
- If your heart rate begins to edge out of the target zone (you are peaking into Z3 during a Z1-Z2 run), it is time to take a walk break to bring down your heart rate before you begin running again.
How to integrate a walk break:
- Run with as many elements of good form as you can execute
- When it begins to feel unsustainable, reset with a brief 5 to 7-second recovery walk break
- Reset form with power walking (posture, leg drive) for another 10-seconds or longer
- Transition back to form-based running
So, let’s shift the mindset and put pride aside. If you are not sure how to integrate purposeful walking into your regimen, reach out to us and book a coaching consult.