Walk before you can run How walking can help your marathon training

When you’re training for a marathon it’s easy to get obsessed with the idea of a “long run”.

Yes, it’s important to build your distance and stamina. That'll come gradually. In the early stages of your training, your aim should simply be to increase the amount of time you spend on your feet.

One important tool to incorporate into your marathon training is walking. It may sound odd, but it’s a crucial aspect of getting your mind and body ready to run 26.2 miles.

Why walking helps

Manage your effort and impact
Let’s get this out of the way first: walking is NOT cheating!

At Full Potential we’ve coached athletes who have run 3h30m marathons. At some point all of them have broken up their distance running with a brisk walk.

We often use walking as part of your marathon training. We do this to:

    • manage your effort level
    • reduce the impact on your joints
    • get you used to being on your feet for longer

Increase your marathon stamina
You’ll see quick results using these techniques. 

Over the coming weeks you’ll improve your muscular endurance and your running efficiency. You’ll also boost your confidence as a runner, as you feel more comfortable running for longer periods of time.

Remember to chart your runs on a training log. As you start to tick off the miles, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’re making.

How to use the run/walk technique

Marathon Runner outside

We're all different so it’s important to find a method that works for you. Break up your long runs with these different bursts of activity:

    • SHORT - smaller blocks of running
      (4 mins) followed by 1 minute walking
    • MEDIUM  - Run in longer blocks
      (12 mins) then walk for 3 minutes
    • LONG  - Do big blocks of running
      (20 mins) then walk for 5 minutes.

Quick tip: squats for runners

Squats are a great exercise for any aspiring or experienced runner. They build power and endurance in the quads and glutes, allowing you to become a stronger runner.