Newsletter Archives: August 1999
A slow run at the end of the day will disconnect you from the negative
and energize the positive.
When running at the right pace for you, walk breaks allow beginners
to finish a marathon in six months or less. Those who struggle to
run their daily distance can increase by a mile or three and feel
great afterward. Over 40 year old runners reduce fatigue and injury,
and many improve times, when they put strategic walk breaks in certain
runs. Once we find the ideal ratio for a given distance, walk breaks
allow us to feel strong to the end, recover fast, while bestowing
the same endurance we would have received if we ran continuously.
As one who has pridefully run for more than four decades, it's
sometimes hard to admit something, but here goes. Our bodies weren't
designed to run continuously for long distances like the marathon.
Sure we can adapt, but we pay for it in extra fatigue and lose some
of the enjoyment of running. There is a better way to go the distance.
By alternating walking and running, from the start, there's probably
not a distance that we can't cover.
Most marathoners will record significantly faster times when they
take walk breaks. Thousands of time-goal-oriented marathon veterans
have improved by 10, 20, 30 minutes and more by taking walk breaks
early and often in their goal race. You can easily spot these folks
in races: they're the ones who are picking up speed during the last
two to six miles, when everyone else is slowing down.
Using Muscles In Different Ways‹From the Beginning‹Keeps them
When a muscle group, such as your primary running workhorse, the
calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively
soon. Walk breaks give that main running muscle a chance to recover
before it starts accumulating fatigue. This reduces the damage to
the muscle dramatically.
Walk breaks force you to slow down early in the run so that you
don't start too fast. This reduction of the intensity of muscle
use from the beginning, conserves your energy, fluids, and muscle
capacity. The running muscles are able to make adaptations inside
so that they can go farther with less fatigue.
When you run continuously on the running muscles, the weak areas
get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in
pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running,
you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing
your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this
is often the difference between achieving a time goalŠor not. Walk
breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less
damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later
walk breaks will reduce or eliminate over-use muscle breakdown.
The earlier you take the walk breaks, the more they help you!
You must start the walk breaks before you feel any fatigue, in
the first mile, for maximum benefit. You've already reduced your
potential performance, if you wait until you feel the need to walk.
Even waiting until the two-mile mark to take the first one will
reduce the resiliency you could regain from walking in the first
mile. If you feel self conscious about walking early, carry an empty
water bottle and pretend to drink as you walk. You can also blame
me: tell those who pass you that Jeff Galloway made you do it!
Would you like a discount? To put it in shopping terms, walk breaks
give a discount from the pounding on legs and feet. If you walk
often enough, start early enough, and keep the pace slow enough,
a five-mile run only leaves three-miles of fatigue, and a 10-miler
produces only five to seven miles of tiredness.
How walk breaks can speed you up in the marathon
A survey of veteran marathoners showed an average improvement of
13 minutes when they put walk breaks into their marathon, compared
with running continuously under the same conditions. By saving the
strength and efficiency of the running muscles through early walk
breaks, you'll avoid the slowdown in the last six miles, where most
continuous runners lose their momentum. You'll be passing people
and picking up speed, if you paced yourself conservatively and walked
enough from the first mile.
The mental benefit: Breaking 26 miles into segments which you
know you can do
Even sub-three-hour runners continue to take their walk breaks
to the end. One of them explained it this way: "Instead of thinking,
at 20 miles, that I had six more gut-wrenching miles to go, I was
saying to myself Śone more mile until my break'. Even when it was
tough, I always felt that I could go one more mile." A three-minute
run/one minute walk person told me that she got over the tough parts
by saying "three more minutes."
Even a short walk break, when taken early and regularly will:
- Extend the capacity of the running muscles at the end of the
long one, because you're shifting the workload between the walking
and the running muscles
- Virtually erase fatigue with each early walk break by keeping
your pace and effort level conservative in the early stages
- Restore resiliency to the main running muscles before it's used
up‹like getting a muscle strength booster shot each break
- Allow you to run 10-40 minutes faster in your marathon (based
upon the experience in our training groups) compared with running
- Speed up your recovery from each long run‹even from 23 and 26-mile
- Leave you feeling good enough to carry on social and family
activities‹even after the very long long runs. Bestow all of the
endurance you would have received if you ran continuously
Walk breaks, with proper pacing, will
Š. Šallow those who can only run two miles to go three or four
and feel fine
Šhelp beginners to increase their endurance to 5K, 10K, or even
the marathon in six months or less
Šbestow the endurance for runners of all abilities to go beyond
Šallow runners over the age of 40 to not only do their first marathon
but to improve times in most cases Šhelp runners of all ages to
improve times because legs are strong at the end
Šreduce the chance of injury and overtraining to almost nothing
Cool Tips for Walkers (from
Rodale's Online Health, June 1999)
If you're a lunch-time exerciser, sticking to your routine can
be challenging in the summertime, when relaxing inside in the air
conditioning is much more appealing. The following tips might help
you feel a little fresher after your walk:
- Carry a bandana or small towel to absorb the sweat that rolls
down your face.
- After your walk, find a shady spot, take off your shoes and
socks, and stretch for five to 10 minutes. This gives your body
a chance to cool down.
- Run cool water over your wrists to hasten cooldown.
Injury of the Month: Are
You Drinking Enough Water?
Water is a very important element in staying healthy. With the
hot weather of summer's end beating down on us all, we need to remember
that higher temperatures mean our bodies need more fluids. Waiting
until you feel thirsty doesn't work because by the time you feel
it, you're already running low. The general advice is to drink before,
during and after exercise, regardless of the length of time you
plan to exercise: eight to 16 ounces before you workout, five to
10 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during, and at least 16 ounces
afterward. (ARFA's Running & Fit News, July 1999, p. 2.)
There are plenty of different styles of water belts/carriers nowadays
so you should be able to find one that is comfortable for you to
wear on your runs. Carrying your own water allows you to drink when
you need to. Plus you never know when there might be a problem with
the water stop and you'll find yourself on your own.
Tips: Keep a water bottle at your desk so you can drink
all day. Filling your bottle halfway the night before and freezing
it gives you a nice, cool drink whenever you want it, at work or
on your run, and cool water is easier for your body to absorb.
- Stop Middle Age Spread: Want to keep your waistline and still
eat as you do now? Researchers at NASA/Johnson Space Center in
Houston say walking about two miles a day will make it happen.
It was true for men and women employees who weighted 180 and 150
pounds respectively (about age 40). The magic number was about
14 miles per week. (Total Wellness, Volume VII, Number 2)
- Fidgeters burn more calories: A Mayo Clinic research project
shows that any kind of physical activity burns calories, including
the subjects' squirming in their seats and tapping their toes.
(ARFA's Running & Fit News, July 1999, page 3, reporting on an
article in Science, 1999, Vol. 283, pp. 212-214) .
- Something's fishy: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, previously
proven to help keep hearts healthy, may also help fight some mental
illnesses, such as depression and bipolar disorder. The studies
are preliminary but what the heck? Eating these fish oils don't
appear to be harmful and may just help. (New Woman, January 1999)
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