Race day run/walk method?

read and thought worth sharing this article in Triathlete Europe on whether we should try the run/walk method during a race. This is something i haven’t yet tried but I’ve been thinking off doing for Ironman70.3 Staffordshire in June. Have a read, share the article and what your take on it is. Have you already tried this tactic? Did it work for you? I would love to know! Enjoy…..


“For some triathletes, the idea of walking during the run portion of a race is out of the question. You’d rather shamble along with your last ounce of energy and fall across the finish line than walk, right? New research suggests that you should give yourself a break, showing that in longer races like a half or full iron-distance, walk breaks might be a good idea.

For the study, German researchers looked at what differences might exist between runners who used a run/walk strategy in a marathon (running for a minute and a half and then walking for a minute) and those who simply ran the entire race. They were interested in not only who was faster, but also who felt better upon crossing the finish line.

Statistically speaking, there wasn’t a significant difference between the times, but, the run/walk group was just a few minutes slower than the run-only group. With that said, the run/walk group reported less fatigue and muscle pain at the end of the race. There are a number of reasons why this is significant. Namely, less pain suggests those runners likely enjoyed the experience more and will also recover quicker. This is why the famed running coach Jeff Galloway has long preached utilizing a run/walk approach in long races.

Indeed, John Ridgley, a USA Triathlon-certified coach based in Atlanta, has found this method useful in his own training. After getting beat by a run/walk group at the Marine Corps Marathon in the late 1990s, he tried it the following year and finished under four hours. He hasn’t looked back since. He now uses it in Ironman races, as well as instructing many of the triathletes he coaches to do the same.

“After researching it, I didn’t do it to reduce my time,” he explains. “I did it because I felt much better after every training run and race while still finishing in the same time or better.” For many of his athletes who are shooting for a sub-14-hour Ironman finish, the run/walk approach helps them avoid the dreaded Ironman shuffle. “My run/walkers never get to that point,” he says. “They pass people even when walking and none of them ever feel like they are wimping out doing it that way.”

When it comes to employing the method, it is important to practice in training so you’re prepared for race day. “For simplicity’s sake, most run 4 minutes, and walk 1 minute so they don’t need an interval timer; they just walk at 4 and 9 on their watch,” he explains. For racing, Ridgley also emphasizes keeping things uncomplicated so your weary mind doesn’t need to process a lot of data and numbers. In stand-alone marathons he suggests running a mile and walking a minute, but for the Ironman, he simply recommends walking the aid stations. If you plan on implementing this strategy, it is important to get into the rhythm early on in the run portion of a race. “If you are forced to walk because you’re tired, it is already too late and you probably won’t ever start running again,” says Ridgley. “If toward the end of the run you’re feeling good, you can always abandon the walk breaks and negative split the second half.”

While alternating between running and walking might not be the best approach for the fastest athletes, the research shows that many of us can benefit from it. If you’re concerned about wear and tear on your body or you’re simply not sure you’ll be able to complete a long-course event, this is a great way to boost confidence and ensure you’ll hit the line in one piece.”

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Any tips anyone have for my ironman70.3 are most welcome! Thanks


4 thoughts on “Race day run/walk method?

  1. i was talking to a few folks who just did IM this past summer and they told me to do this. thanks for the article.. i know i be doing the run and walk method and you will be passing by folks who just try to run only too

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  2. Thanks very much for your comment. Nice to hear how people deal with it in different ways. Cheers and take care!


  3. Hi!

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    Triathlon is swim bike run so my initial reaction is no walk on the run! and i’ve never walked myself during a race except once when I made a BIG mistake in my nutrition pre-race and my legs unfortunately were not with me for the entire 70.3 miles – it was extremely painful mentally and I just couldn’t run so I had to walk.

    I think there are two kinds of pain the one you can endure – eventually it will go away if you can focus and relax and the other one that you cannot where probably the smart move is to actually take a break. To be able to recognize one of the other you have to know yourself well and remember what you did when it happened during your training session.

    Hope this helps! Happy training and good luck on your race!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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