Training with a Run-Walk Program

I’ve been training with a Run-Walk program because I’m scheduled to run my half marathon this coming weekend. I signed up for this race, knowing it would be tight time-wise to train for for it. This summer, I was doing the Couch to 5K with my dog and ran a four mile race on the Fourth of July. I had to walk part of that race because it was really a bit too long for me at the time.

As I began to increase my mileage for this race, I wanted to avoid getting injured. In the past, I ended up with a few different injuries from over training and I really wanted to avoid that this time.

I did some research and decided that I needed to use a run-walk-run program. I’d always been dismissive of this as a way to run a race but read enough to convince me that it was worth trying.

The books by Jeff Galloway are the go-to source of information on this type of training. There are others who recommend using a run-walk method but he’s the expert on it.

Timing my Run-Walks

When I first started, I downloaded an app onto my phone. It tracks intervals and can be used for strength training or running. It worked fine except I had to tell it how long I wanted to run for so it worked better for training by time rather than distrance.

I then discovered that my Garmin watch has a run-walk interval timer on it. I set it for my run and walk and now it vibrates and buzzes when it’s time to switch modes. The countdown for each mode is visible which makes it easier mentally for me as I run.

What I Learned about Training
with a Run-Walk Program

The first thing I noticed is that my heart rate did not have as much variation. I didn’t get the high peaks I was getting when I ran non-stop. If you’re going to also train using a low heart rate program, you’ll probably really want to use a run-walk program.

The second thing I noticed is that my recovery was much faster than when I ran consistently. Adding in the walk portions really seems to prevent fatigue and stress on my joints, ligaments, and tendons. I feel fatigued and of course can tell I’ve been for a run but I’m not nearly as sore.

Also, I learned that it’s ok to tinker with the timing of my running and walking. I increased my walk time after I first started training. Right now, I’m running for three minutes and walking for one minute. When I first started, I was only walking 30 seconds and that was much too short.

Right now, training with a run-walk program is a bit slower for me but not extremely so. I suspect as I continue to use this meithod of training, my speed will improve.


I’m looking forward to my race and I’ll be sure to write a recap of it here. I plan to use my run-walk-run method for the race. I think my three to one minute ratio should work well. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Let me know if you’ve tried training with a run-walk program.



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