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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10kTruth.com is a place for runners who have the attitude to train harder and smarter, who want to race faster and stronger, to better their race times and lower the chance of injury. The Rage and Manciata answer running and training questions with their own unique insight and spew. You'll also find running advice and inspirational quotes by sports legends and others who epitomize the spirit of 10k Truth.