For run/walkers

I think I may have made a breakthrough discovery .

I have used the run/walk method at many different times over the past 2 years - but have never been completely happy with it - because of my shoes!! When I walk, I basically walk "landing on my heels" and when I run I land on the balls of my feet ( as we all should! smile emoticon ) BUT this means that my minimalist style running shoes are great for the run segment - but not so good for the walk segment and i find them to be quite "jarring" during the walk segments. During a long run , this becomes a problem to me. I have tried different shoes - some with more padding in the heel makes walking better but running not as good as my "proper" running shoes. HOWEVER - today I was reading about Bobby McGee - a triathlon trainer who encourages his triathletes to use run/walk. He says that to transition to the walk from the run and vise versa takes practice ( as this is a common cause of complaint from people who do not like to constantly change from running to walking and vice versa) and encourages his athletes to carry their hands HIGH (just under the chin) during the walk segment . He further says that by dropping the hands low during the walk - that is at waist level and swing the arms long causes overstriding during the walk. So I went outside and did some experiments - ran and then slowed to a walk and holding my hands (and thus arms) still under my chin as I walked --- what it did was to cause me to cease walking on my heels and naturally forced my walking stride into one where I was landing on the balls of my feet rather than my heels during the walk segments. It also caused me to walk at a faster pace than normal and the transitions between run and walk were much smoother and overall the run/walk felt smoother and more enjoyable. All of a sudden, I am looking forward to my HM on Sunday

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20 Replies

  • That is really interesting.Barry. Will try it today. But you still swing your arms?

  • No - not really. You are carrying your arms so high that there is little pendulum effect - it is very much like walking with no arms at all. I have always found the "falling forward" style of Chi running very difficult to do -- but it comes quite naturally with walking this way . Just try it yourself - place your hands on your upper chest , lean forward form your ankles and just let your legs "walk" - you will find that you are walking on the balls of your feet at quite a pace.

  • Sorry just re read it. Of course you don't! But doesn't holding hands still under your chin make you look a little....peculiar? 😧

  • He doesn't say "under your chin" :) -- he just says "high" . I think that he actually says keep you hands in the same running position, but he also says high and probably most people don't carry their hands that high when running. I just felt comfortable carrying them quite high when walking. But - yes- carrying your hands high while walking does feel "peculiar" but most "runners" will already think that you ( as a run/walker) are a bit peculiar anyway) - that is, until you overtake them in the last part of a race !! :)

  • Will experiment as you did Barry and see . My Sauconys are really comfortable for walking and I'm not sure where I land when I walk! How do race walkers (who DEFINITELY look peculiar) hold their hands I wonder?

  • I do have a pair of Saucony Kinvara 3's - and they are the only shoes that I can actually walk and run in. But I find them to be "noisy" to run in -- they seem to have a fairly hard rubber underneath. However, my NIKE Free 5's and Skecher GoRun 4 are slipper quiet when I run . Hence my desire to be able to both run and walk in them.

  • That's interesting Bazza, sometimes I run in Spain where all the runnners seem to have their arms quite high and in front of their body, almost as if they are hitting a punch ball, or swatting flies away. I wonder if this is why?

  • I'm not quite sure that I can picture what you are saying - but I have read that you should really run with your arms (and not with your legs), driving your elbows backwards - your legs just follow what your arms are doing!!! Of course, how high or low you hold your hands when running determines the pendulum effect of your arms. I have also read that women have a natural tendency to hold their hands higher than men - although I think it also has to do with what pace you are running. Pace really does determine running form - it is difficult to have magnificent running form when you run as slowly as I do. (master of the pensioners shuffle!!)

  • Imagine someone hitting one of these, that's what they look like! .

  • Running while holding your hands in that manner would seem to go against everything I have ever read about "how to run" -- but I guess it may be a matter of "Don't knock it until you have tried it!!" Must try it some time - maybe after I get this HM out of the way - in the meantime , walking like that in between the run segments of a run/walk session is definitely "do-able"

  • I am having physio at the minute and am having to run with a heel strike pattern to relieve pressure on my calves. I noticed straight away that switching my foot fall has changed the way I run completely. I couldn't quite believe it. Your upper body movement is just so different, which came as a surprise. You never stop learning do you!

  • Interesting, I will have to give it a go and see how it feels, I agree sometimes the transition can jar a bit.

  • What I find most "jarring" is the heel striking that I do when walking - the running shoes I own were just not designed for such forces happening to the heel area. I mostly own lightweight minimalist style shoes with low heel-toe drops. Strangely the Saucony's are quite OK for both purposes - running and walking - but I don't like them for running as much as I do the NIKE's.

  • Running with your arms up makes more work for your heart, according to Jillian Michaels. I keep mine down unless I'm pumping my arms to get up hills. "Socket to pocket"!

  • Yes - this is what I have read too. But this particular thread was/is all about walking with hands high, rather than dropped. . :)

  • Very interesting post - I don't usually run/walk but I'll be interested to try that.


  • Used it to good effect on my HM today Bazza - thanks for the timely post.

  • You mean the "holding hands high while walking" thingie?? Yes - I also used it during my HM yesterday as well -- I have to admit that it got a big ragged during the final few Klm's - everything got a bit ragged then !! :(

  • Yes, the arm thingy - hooked my thumbs through my bra shoulder straps! Don't suppose you can do that :-)

    I knew my training had been less than perfect, turns out my longest training run was 17k - in August oops. Also, although I had looked at the course profile the fact that there was 198m descent and 199m ascent managed to pass me by. For some reason I believed someone who told me it was a flat course. Still managed to knock 3 mins off my last HM time though. So thank you.

  • I did do a 20K run about 3 weeks before the HM -- but I still "suffered" !!! If I ever do another HM, I am going to make sure that I do several 20K runs beforehand!!! It is easy to practice/train for 5&10K - you can do plenty of those distances during training - but with the HM, it takes so much time to do the training. But I am thinking that I will have to do a number of 2:30 hour runs beforehand - otherwise the race itself is too much of a shock to the system. I know however that this goes against conventional wisdom. Jeff Galloways training programmes have long runs every second week going out to over race distance.

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