07 July 2020

Could you get a personal best in the marathon by walking?

April 14, 2013

If you have always liked the idea of taking on a marathon but have always felt daunted by the prospect, this may just be the article for you! It may sound crazy but taking walking breaks during a marathon could help improve your time …maybe a Marathon is suddenly more achievable!


There are a whole range of well known (and less well known) training techniques to help improve your marathon time; pace work, ploymetric work, tempo runs and trigger point therapy to name just some. But few runners in the pursuit of a personal best consider taking a walk.

According to Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and running coach who has helped over 200,000 runners, taking a run-walk approach could improve your personal best by up to 13minutes.

‘Shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity,’he explains.

‘By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources, and your weak muscles don’t get overused.’

If you run about 6mins per kilometre, he recommends a 3:1 ratio of minutes running to walking although for more specific details according to pace, visit his website www.jeffgalloway.com

Of course this method could have many other advantages too, providing a mental approach to tackling an endurance event by dividing it into manageable segments. It could also provide an option for those runners who have been injured during training who are worried about missing the race.

Rather than trying to go back to training too soon and running long distances after missing weeks of training, a run walk approach of one minute running to walking could help you complete the race without further injury.

Rachael Woolston is a running coach www.fitbitchrunningclub.com and will be running the Paris Marathon with Sports Tours International who still have guaranteed entry places available from £239 including accommodation.

Rachael Woolston, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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