February 6, 2014

Racing without walk breaks

Last week I posted about the run/walk method by Jeff Galloway and how I have used it for training and racing.  Now it is time to talk about the races where I do not take walk breaks. Shorter races are easier to run without any breaks if you are an experienced runner. The best way to start is with a 5k. When I run a 5k race, which by the way is my least favorite distance,  I pretty much go all out.  The first mile I get into a comfortable pace and speed up as the miles go by.


As the distances increase, pace has to be adjusted accordingly.  I have not run many 10k's and my last one was at Disneyland as part of the Dumbo Challenge.  Since Christine and I wanted to take photos, we stopped many times to snap photographs!  At local 10k's,  I run this distance with no walking and plan to do that later this month during the inaugural 10k as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge. Fuel and fluids are not necessary during the shorter races and I rarely stop for water during a 10k or 5k unless the temperatures are very high.  It kills time and there are always plenty of refreshments at the end of a race.

Last year, my goal was to break 2 hours in a half marathon. I knew that I would have to race the distance while running the whole way to reach this number.  Having come close in March (2:02.05) I knew it was within my grasp.  So I adjusted my training to incorporate longer runs with a faster pace to get used to running that way.  I also practiced drinking water from a cup while running and finally perfected that challenge by bending the cup so just a little water came out of the cup.  I no longer spill half the cup on myself or my fellow runners. There have been times that I have walked through water stops to make sure I get enough to drink, but most of my half marathons are now run without any stopping for food or fuel.  My five fastest half marathons ranging from 1:59 to 2:07 were all run from start to finish.  For me, it is my fastest way to the finish line. In full disclosure, I plan to try to race one half marathon sometime this year with the run/walk method to see how quickly I can get to the finish line.  It will be an interesting test and as I plan my race calendar after the Glass Slipper Challenge, a half marathon will be chosen for this racing plan.

Running a marathon without walk breaks is currently not in my plans.  At such a challenging distance the thought of running all those miles with no break whatsoever is quite daunting.  The mental challenge involved with a marathon is huge and probably the biggest hurdle for most runners.

What is your favorite race distance?  Do you take walk breaks?
(Pam)

20 comments:

  1. Pam, I appreciate that you've pointed out that experienced runners should be those trying to run shorter distances without any walk breaks. When I started running last year, I felt like a failure when I couldn't complete a 5k without walking. Now that I've done my research and come to better grips with the importance of walk breaks, I don't think I was actually a failure, but rather that I was trying to push myself too hard too quickly. I'll be running my first 5k race since November at the end of April, and if I can't run it straight without walking then I'm okay with that.

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    1. Hope your 5k goes well in April. It is no big deal to take walk breaks as I mentioned in my post last week. In my opinion, walk breaks can give you the ability to go longer distances depending on your experience level.

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  2. My fav distance is probably right now the 10k...but I think that by the end of this year it is going to be the 1/2

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    1. The half is definitely my favorite distance at the moment, but I also have greatly enjoyed my two marathons!

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  3. I usually do walk breaks during training runs but the last two 5K's I ran I did not walk because I was trying to PR and I did. However, I PRed in a 10K as well using the run/walk method. I mentally get overwhelmed with distances longer than 10K so I tell myself in my mind that it's okay to talk walk breaks. I usually am consistent with them though ( timing them on my watch) I don't just walk whenever I feel like it (unless I am in pain). I look forward to seeing if you PR your half marathon distance using this Run/walk method! Good luck!

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    1. Meranda, I don't know what made me decide to try to PR the half with walk breaks, but it seems like a fun challenge....we will see sometime this spring!

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  4. So far, my favorite race distance is the half marathon. However, I have never ran one without taking any walk breaks. I always tend to walk through the water stops (or at a Disney race, stop for photos and such). I'm curious to see how I would do without stopping at a half, though! I'm also looking forward to reading your comparative post on running VS run/walking your half!

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    1. Thanks Lauren. Yes, the half is a great race distance and one that I love. It will be fun to test my theory that you need to run straight through without breaks to get a half PR....stay tuned!

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  5. While I have completed just one half and one full marathon (second half is two weeks from now here in Northeast Florida), I have used the "walk through the water stations" Hal Higdon recommendation for each of those races, which translates to a 15-to-30 second walk break every fifteen-to-twenty minutes. Thus far, that seems to have done the trick for me. Now that I have PRs to chase after at those distances, though, I will continue to evaluate and to adjust my strategy...

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    1. Pete, You may want to try a run/walk half just to see how you do....it is amazing the energy you get from those walk breaks and our marathon PR in January only happened for me because of the breaks. There is no way I could have run the second half of that marathon in 2:11 without those much needed walk breaks. I think Jeff Galloway was a genius to introduce this plan for the middle of the pack runners!

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  6. When I first started running, I tried the run-walk method, but I was too impatient for it. I've now finished three full marathons and two half marathons by only walking through the water stations. My goal for this year is to go sub-2 in a half, and my current PR is 2:03:57, which I got by walking through maybe half the water stations and running through the rest. The only thing I ate during that half was half a banana. Did you fuel during sub-2 half marathons while running? I'm trying to figure out where I can eliminate time in addition to doing speedwork!

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    1. I do fuel while on the go, but I definitely drop my pace. For half marathons, I use GU gels and they are pretty easy to consume while running. My favorite flavor is peppermint stick, but I also like the new salted caramel flavor!

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  7. My favorite distance is the 10k, which is sort of funny since I've only done two of them thus far (I'm signed up for Dumbo though). I feel like that distance is the sweet spot for me - I know what to do with my energy throughout. I'm a walk/run chick through and through so no matter the distance, that's what I go with. :)

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    1. Meridith, Using the run/walk method works great for so many runners. The 10k is a nice distance too because you don't need alot of fuel or water.

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  8. The half is my favorite distance. However, the full is the one I like conquering the most.

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    1. I will agree with you Abby. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line after a full marathon, although I have only completed two!

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  9. I just can't manage to drink from a cup while running, even with the pinching the top trick. I'd love to read about your time comparison of straight run vs. run/walk for a half! I think 10k is probably my favorite distance. Long enough not to "sprint" but not so long that I get nervous beforehand.

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  10. I've always been a 5k girl. But I just did my first half and I believe that one is going to climb up to be my favorite. :) I have never been able to drink from a cup while running without it splashing all over me! I knew of the pinch method but have yet to try it. I don't know what I'm waiting for!! Lol

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  11. I'm not a big fan of taking walk breaks, but this year for Glass Slipper Challenge might be the first time I integrate some in. I haven't been in tip top training shape and with a lingering injury, its probably a better bet to do some walking!

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  12. Sorry, I'm late to commenting on this post, so first - Congratulations for completing the Glass Slipper Challenge! Fabulous! Second, I'm planning my first marathon in October. I know I will have to run/walk, but I'm trying to plan my strategy for it. Do you begin with intervals from the beginning? Or since you are comfortable going the distance of a half without walking, do you run that straight through and then begin intervals? I don't think I will start with them, but I don't want to wait too long either.

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