If you are a regular reader around here, you may recall that I have been dealing with an achilles strain for the past few months. I finally sought help and entered Physical Therapy about a month ago. Like all runners, I was anxious to keep up my training and stay in running shape while treating my achilles strain. Fortunately, I was given the go ahead to continue running. I’ve been using Run/Walk Intervals to allow me to do just that.
Using Run/Walk Intervals After Injury
While no runner ever wants to be sidelined due to injury, please check with your own Doctor or physical therapist to make sure run/walk intervals are appropriate for you injury.
Prior to my current use of run/walk intervals, I admit having negative perceptions surrounding them. I had a hard time understanding how they could be helpful and viewed them as a weakness of sorts. My views have certainly changed over the last month as has my belief in the ability that run/walk intervals can help me return to my pre-injury running self faster.
What are Run/Walk intervals?
Run/Walk intervals are predetermined time periods of running followed by short rest (walk) intervals. These are repeated to reach the desired workout goal either by time or distance goals. I am currently using 4:1 walk/run intervals. Many running watches can be easily set to remind you when to take your walk break and when to resume running.
Why might someone use Run/Walk intervals?
If appropriate, using run/walk intervals while rehabbing an injury can help to keep you in “running shape”. I’ve been able to increase my mileage by using intervals and keeping my cardio workout level the same. Coming back to running after time off (childbirth, travel, work, life) is another instance where run/walk intervals can help get you back up to speed while reducing risk of injury or fatigue. New runners can also benefit from walk/run intervals as a way to build endurance and increase time on their feet.
Psychologically, run/walk intervals can help you work towards reaching your mileage goals and feeling more confident about the time spent running. Taking just a short one minute walk break can give your muscles just enough rest to be ready to give your run interval your full effort.
For me, using 4:1 run/walk intervals has allowed me to keep running while staving off the achilles pain I was feeling just a few weeks ago. That one minute of rest, allows my calf muscles to relax before they are over stressed, allowing me to continue adding mileage.
Don’t just take my word for it, Jeff Galloway has devised quite a following for his run/walk method over the past 30 years. Many of his devotees boasting faster marathon times using his run/walk method.
Right now, I am not sure how long I will continue using run/walk intervals but I am convinced that they are playing an important role in my recovery. I am not ashamed of walking as I now know, it’s helping me regain my running endurance. Of course, I am also working on improving my overall running form as well.
Tell me: Do you or have you used run/walk intervals on a regular basis? How have they helped your running?