Fact check: real runners don’t walk

Lysanne Wilkens Vrijdag, 2 oktober 2015
Fact check: real runners don’t walk
© Barbara Kerkhof

You may see walking as a sign of failure. You don’t do that as a runner, right? Nothing could be further from the truth! Walking can actually contribute to the effectiveness of your training and recovery.

As a runner, you can make smart use of walking. Alternating between running and walking is the ideal way to build up. Particularly if you have not done any sports for a while, starting running right away is not recommended and you can use walking to strengthen your muscles, tendons and joints. Your body will thank you, because the strain of walking is less than running. In this way, you reduce the risk of injuries and get off to a successful start!

Build up your condition

The combination of running and walking is a good way to build up your condition. Use the walking breaks as a recovery moment, allowing your breathing to slow down before starting the next running pace. In this way, you can do the intervals at a higher pace and more easily complete more repetitions. As an added bonus: because you don’t run for long periods at a time, fatigue is less likely to affect your running posture.

Promote your recovery

Not only beginning runners benefit from walking, but also advanced runners benefit from a walking break from time to time. Walking is the best way to recover when you are training at top speed. It allows your body to replenish the store of creatine phosphate, which is used for short, explosive efforts. Although you may want to bend over with your hands on your knees to pant after a heavy exertion, it is better to keep moving. Active rest also contributes to the elimination of waste products that build up in your body during running. By not standing still after heavy exertion, but walking for a while, you stimulate this process.

So there is nothing to be ashamed of if you take a break from your run training by walking for a bit. In fact, by using walking in a targeted way, you can even use it to your advantage. Decide for yourself whether you would like to take a break with a walk during your run. If you feel that it takes you out of your rhythm, an easy jogging pace might work better for you – although your fitness level must allow for this.

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Lysanne Wilkens
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Lysanne Wilkens

Lysanne Wilkens is freelance redacteur voor hardlopen.nl en gaat met alle plezier op zoek naar bijzondere verhalen. Daarnaast is ze zelf fanatiek hardloper en kan ze op diverse afstanden uit de voeten, van de 800 meter tot de halve marathon.