When we used to live in St. Augustine, Florida, I had the worst time at running. Of course, I wasn’t very smart about it. For the first year or so that we lived there, I would come home from work (usually around 5:15 p.m.) and expect to run. During the hottest point of the day. Usually in extreme humidity since it was in the midst of a storm or one was rolling in.
I would force myself to run a mile or so at normal pace, get super frustrated when I overheated and start crying when I had to walk. I know, ridiculous right? Although the most ridiculous part of the scenario may be the fact that I did this for months without realizing that maybe I should start running in the morning. (Note: I eventually did learn.)
Back during that time, I had this mindset that walking was weak. If I wasn’t running my entire run, it wasn’t successful. I was a failure. And, it would always leave me frustrated and on edge.
I’m not quite sure why I had this view in my head because that is so not the case, and definitely something that I’ve learned over the years.
For one, walking is basically running… just at a slower pace! Because it’s a slower pace, it doesn’t push your body to become as efficient as running does. It also requires you to dedicate more time to the workout if you want to go the same distance. Depending on your fitness level and heart rate, it may put you in the fat-burning zone or it may not. If you pace yourself between running and walking, it can serve as an interval training workout which has awesome benefits. Either way, it’s still a cardiovascular workout and helps you stay healthy!
Plus, if you’re training for a race, sometimes people will talk about “time on your feet” versus distance. For instance, when I ran the ZOOMA Half Marathon with my sister prior to the Boston Marathon, I counted it as a training run because of the “time on my feet” value. If you do a mix of walking and running, it will help build your endurance fitness but also contribute to your “time on your feet.”
And secondly, why does it matter?
A bad run here and there where the weather gets the best of you, or where your mind/body just aren’t on the same page, not a bad thing. Walking is most definitely not a weak reaction! What would be weak? Quitting.
This past Saturday, I walked during my run. And I didn’t get mad at myself about it, I didn’t care if other runners saw me doing it on the trail. My body was sore from the Orangetheory Fitness class and it was humid. I decided to break up my run and walk. The world didn’t end. I didn’t lose my fitness. And instead? It was probably a more enjoyable workout than I expected.
Runners: Do you let yourself take walking breaks? Why or why not?
What’s your favorite type of weather? Season?
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