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Booker Q&A: “Should I start my training for running or should I just focus on walking?”

In my first introductory post on this blog, Kelli left the following comment/question for me:

“Hey Bill! Great website! I too am training for the Columbus Marathon however my training has stalled and I am thinking I am probably just going to walk. What do you suggest? The longest run I’ve had thus far has been 9 miles about a month ago and only small intermittent runs in between. Should I start my training for running or should I just focus on walking. Again, great site!”

I really want to thank Kelli for inspiring this blog post!

So, to Kelli’s questions and concerns … should she start training for running or just focus on walking?

This million dollar question can be answered by simply saying, you should do BOTH! This is why I am a huge fan of the Galloway Running Program. Galloway has been teaching the run/walk method successfully for years. It is the program that I participate in and I couldn’t imagine doing my first marathon any other way.

Keep in mind …

You have to remember, although I was in pretty darn good shape at the start of this process, the idea of running more than 4-5 miles was intimidating. The energy systems I have developed doing interval training and hill sprints, is completely different than the energy system you tap into during loooonnnnggggg, sustained runs. My training group runs for 4 minutes and then walks for a minute. The faster groups might run for 7 or 8 minutes and then walk for a minute and some of the slower groups may incorporate a few more walk breaks. The end result are much fresher legs, which pays big dividends towards the end of those longer runs.

A little Bit About the Jeff Galloway Program

This program is designed specifically to teach just about anyone, that they can run a marathon. The program incorporates a low-milage, three-day a week training schedule that Jeff reports at a 98% success. I haven’t seen any official numbers but based solely on the group I train with, I believe it.

As a participant, I have seen several benefits to this style of training:

  • I don’t think I have it in me to run for 1 hour, then 2 hours, then over 3 hours without the support of a group running with me. The group support is an enormous component! When I can look around and see that I am with other people pushing towards such a giant goal, it keeps me going.
  • The run/walk allows you to break up the monotony of long runs. You will find yourself focusing more on your watch, and less on the miles that lie ahead of you.
  • Run/walk helps to improves recovery.
  • Run/Walk allows you to store energy, which is critical, particularly at the end of runs.

As a doctor, I see these benefits, and several more:

  • Allows your “running” muscles to recover, throughout the run, while your “walking” muscles share the work.
  • You use different muscle AND different energy systems throughout the run.
  • Most importantly, run/walk REDUCES REPETITIVE STRESS INJURIES!!!

You can visit the Galloway website at to get more information.

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