Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Extolling the virtues of the Run/ Walk Method

As much as I enjoy swimming and biking, I have to admit that my favorite discipline in Triathlon is still running. That makes sense considering that running is something I've done since I was in elementary school.  Now that I'm in my forties, I've run countless 5k's and 10k's, a handful of marathons, and even a 50 mile run.  But up until last year, I'd never trained with a mixture of running and walking.  I'd always felt that if I walked any part of a run I was somehow cheating or shortchanging the experience.  Real running required . . . well running only.  For my first marathon in fact, my only goal was to run the entire thing, no walking at all.
Of course, a mixture of running and walking is nothing new.  Jeff Galloway has used this approach with running for decades and you can get more specific details and rationale for the approach on his excellent web site.
For me it was training for that 50 mile race that initiated me to the approach.  As I started running longer distances, I began to experiment with a bit of walking as part of my training.  Initially, I would run for about an hour, and then take a 5 minute walk break.  This worked okay, but I still felt pretty spent after a run of more than a dozen miles.  Then I read about a 5 to 1 approach (5 minutes running, to 1 minute walking).  The increased frequency of the breaks concerned me a bit, but as I learned more about ultra running, I realized that walking was really a common part of training and racing for most folks.  This is the approach that I have consistently used during the last year when completing my longer training runs.  I've discovered a number of ways that this type of training has benefited me.
The first benefit, and probably the most important has been recovery.  Usually, a run of more than about 10 miles requires a couple of days recovery.  If any speed/ tempo work is included, that might mean even more time.  With the run/ walk method, the time needed for recovery is much lower.  This means I can get back to SBR much sooner and keep training.  In general, long runs that have been run/ walk have been easier overall.
Discipline has been another benefit of this method.  While it might seem that it would require more discipline to keep running, the opposite seems true for me.  It's very difficult to slow to a walk during a run, especially when I'm feeling good and I want to keep going a bit further.  However, the benefit of those walk breaks that occur only a couple of miles into the run, are obvious once the run stretches above 10 miles.  At that point, these breaks make the idea of running further much more manageable.
Lastly, the opportunity to stop during a run has provided the opportunity to further appreciate the experience of running long.  Stopping for a minute or two when you're a dozen miles from nowhere provides the chance to take things in a bit more.  I've managed to catch some beautiful scenery this way, or even enjoy the stillness of an early morning run.
Stopping to walk reminds you to enjoy the scenery a bit more.
The run/ walk method for training has not diminished my ability to run far without stopping.  During races, I can keep moving along without the need for these breaks.  Because most of my longer training is down at a lower HR, I haven't had a problem adding speed on longer runs having trained this way.

BONUS RACE REPORT: Valentine's Twosome

Staying warm before the race!
This is the world's shortest race report, but then it was also a very short race.  This morning, the family headed over to City Park to do the Valentine's Twosome, a 2 person relay race.  Lily and I ran the first 1.6 loop in about 25 minutes and Melisa and Maya "anchored" the second lap.  Our total time was 44 minutes.
Great Job to the youngest participant today!
And yes, the Johnson family finished DFL.  But it was fun.  Cold and snowy, but still fun.  I was proud of the family for getting out and doing this race together.  Afterward, we celebrated by going to Martinez Cafe for a great Mexican Breakfast (Eggs, Chile, Tortillas, Beans, Potatoes, and Hot, Hot Coffee).  A great start to the day for sure.
Post race w/ visions of Breakfast!

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