Did you know there are many reasons you might want to consider adding walking into your fitness routine and/or training schedule? It's not for everyone, but it can have many benefits, depending on your needs.
Want to get into running? A planned schedule of running and walking intervals can help you progress your running. You might be able to start with only 1 min intervals, and that's ok! You will soon be able to progress to longer and longer intervals. Consider keeping a consistent and progressive schedule of run/walk intervals, rather than just running when you can and walking when you have to.
Currently injured? If you can't run right now, walking is likely the next best thing (if you are cleared to be walking and/or not having pain with walking). Walking uphill (5-8%) at 3.0-3.5mph on a treadmill can get you into the same zone 2 heart rate that you do most of your training in. The mechanics of walking uphill are also very similar to running uphill.
Returning from injury? Rather than taking a guess as to how many miles you can start with before your injury pain pops up again, a return to running program gives you a safe and effective way to return to running. You start with just enough running to help strengthen the injured tissue and test things out while doing walk/run intervals. You can then progress based on your soreness level. Get in touch with us for the return to run protocol!
Training for a marathon or ultra? Research has shown that there is little physiological benefit to running over 3 hours. In other words, you're not physically becoming a stronger runner by running over 3 hours.* If needed, we often suggest adding a few miles of walking at the end of a 3-hour run to increase time on the feet and train mental stamina while avoiding the extra load of running.
Want to add miles to your week without the extra pounding? A good way to progress miles more carefully is to add walking to the beginning or end of your runs to increase time on your feet and prepare your body for increased weekly mileage. You can also supplement weekly miles with walking as part of your cross-training.
Want to stay healthy for a long time? Walking 30 minutes a day has been shown to have many benefits for cardiovascular health and healthy aging.
Need to take a break? Use walking as a mindfulness session. Leave the phone, the music, and the to-do lists behind for a moment. Bring awareness to things like your breath, your feet hitting the ground, and the environment around you. It's a great way to practice mindfulness without sitting still on a pillow!
*Many ultra runners will run over 3 hours in training. However, we encourage that this be done with a certain intent (i.e. practicing your nutrition plan for an upcoming race, working on mental stamina). Understand that increased recovery time is needed after efforts over 3 hours.