Q: Quick one for you, I recently took up running and the instructor/trainer is giving me information that I feel isn't correct. I'm told that a good way to get started running is to run 10 minutes, walk a couple, then run again. This seems like a good idea to me for training, but I kind of wondered how the more serious runners pull off the marathon-like distances. I was told that this is the same technique employed by ALL (or at least most) long-distance runners, even in major races. This sounds a little funny to me, since I remember watching the olympics and boston marathon, etc. and never saw any of the front runners walking for even a few moments, let alone several minutes at a time. Don't get me wrong, I'm a novice runner at best and I agree with the training method, but I think I'm being fed a little disinformation here, can you clear this up for me? Thanks. E.S.
A: The advice you received was actually very good advice for someone just getting started with running. You are a long way from attempting a marathon. My advice to you is to buy Jeff Galloway's (he made 1972 Olympic team in the 10,000 meters) "Book On Running" (such a staple in serious runners' libraries that it is known simply as "GBR"). Galloway describes perfectly the evolution of a runner as they go through several key development stages. This is the first running book I read when I started seven years ago. It covers the whole gambit (shoes, diet, preventing injury, work out plans, building strength, speedwork, the works....). And about this run/walk thing?... In Galloway's most recent teachings, he has successfully coached experienced runners into adopting his run/walk technique...even during marathons...which has produced some sub-3:00 hour times for some runners who have used his method. It's good advice for novice runners and also, experienced runners as well. Good luck. The Rage
PS: My respected colleagues here at 10kTruth have suggested I am starting to cave to the mainstream running community by the way I failed to address what I now understand to be the heart of your question: Do elite runners walk for several minutes at a time during marthons, such as the Olympics and the Boston Marathon? Answer: No.
I suspect your trainer might have been using a deflection technique in their response to your question (e.g. ALL runners doing the walking thing even in races)trying to keep the focus on you. Me? I simply should have read your question more closely.
I have never seen the run/walk method successfully used at the elite level. I stand by my earlier advice for those JUST GETTING STARTED or finding themselves repeatedly struggling to finish a marathon without slowing to more or less a walk anyway in the last few miles after several failed marathon attempts.
My partner has threatened to fire me from this blue collar running site if I continue to advise people on alternatives to real racing simply because they just can't handle The Truth. Yes, that means if you want to become a serious runner, you gotta run, baby. In my first marathon, I hit the wall at mile 22 and run/walked to the finish. Some people said, politely, "...but you finished..." but I still maintain I did not run a marathon. The reality is I walked part of it and never felt like I could say I "ran" a marathon until I ran the whole distance. The good thing was, my failure made me more determined to try again...to work harder, train better, run a smarter race and finish strong.
My apologies for not paying attention to your question. - The Rage
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