Lord willing, in 16 days I will run my second 32-mile ultramarathon. I am slowly putting the final touches on my training for that race. This Saturday I will run 10 miles at the Virginia 10 Miler. Today I also ran 10 miles on the same trail where the ultra will take place in two weeks.
Today I walked again as part of my ultramarathon training. The human body is genetically designed to walk efficiently for hours. Constant running, on the other hand, produces more fatigue and aches than maintaining the same pace while taking walk breaks. I am a firm believer in the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run method. During each walk break, the body can build and restore itself. Here are just some of the proven principles behind this method (source):
The continuous use of a muscle results in quicker fatigue. Walk breaks allow you to recover, erase fatigue, and rebound to perform better and better.
The longer the run, the more fatigue.
The Run Walk Run method is a form of interval training.
Conservation of resources. Walk breaks leave more fuel in the tank for later in the run.
Elimination of cramping.
Less stress on the weak links. Walk breaks allow the tissues to shift workloads to other areas.
Enjoy endorphins during the run.
Reduce core body temperature on hot days.
By using this method, my hope is to be able to complete the ultramarathon well under the time limit. One of the most important things to note is that this method promises all of the joys of running without the pain. Without the pressure that I "have to run" any specific distance, I can slow down and enjoy the race.
Note: This is not the run until you get tired method. You use the RUN WALK RUN method the entire time you are running. Frankly, there are races where I simply can't run the whole distance. Running the whole time doesn't work for me. I've tried this method and it works. But you have to practice, practice, practice. It involves a lot of training for what you'll do in the race.
Bottom line: Jeff Galloway's advice and techniques are amazing. His method opens up running to everyone -- not just elite runners but also those who may be out of shape, overweight, or (like me) past their athletic prime. It's designed for every type of race at any age.
Try it -- you might like it!
P.S. A few pics from today's run. My, what a gorgeous day.