Tried a new thing... didn't like it

I went to Parkrun today and decided to try something new. I am increasing my distances and am wondering if run/walk might be for me. In the past I have tried short-ish intervals, although nothing scientific and not with a Gymboss or anything to keep the times for me. Today I thought I'd try longer intervals at Parkrun, so I set off to try running for 1km, then walking for quarter of a km.

This would have been fine, but there were a couple of problems. Problem one: I can't count. You'd think it would be quite easy, especially at Parkrun. 5 kilometers. Run 4 of them. Walk the other, divided into quarters. It really doesn't get much simpler than that. Welllll...

Problem two: for quite a while, I have confused the time on my watch and the distance. Not the placement on the actual watch. Oh no, nothing so simple. But... you know when it says 2:30, for example? This is two and a half minutes. But *not* two and a half kilometers :D So when I got to the last section, I stopped for my last walk at 3:30 and then had to go hell-for-leather for the last km and a quarter rather than the last km as I had planned.

You'll be pleased to know that with all this mad dashing for the running section, manic mental arithmetic and stopping to encourage a new friend who was convinced she couldn't do it (yes, I bullied her over the line :D ) I got a new PB and knocked a whopping 8 seconds off my previous time :D :D :D Defo not worth it, in my book!

I did manage to catch up with someone from the Beyond C25K FB group though, so we had a quick natter and a photo op afterwards which was lovely.

I think I am basically one-paced. I don't mind plodding, and I find it quite difficult to get started again once I've stopped - it's almost as if my brain packs up and thinks, "Right, finished, cup of tea and a biscuit, thanks." I might try the run/walk on my next longer run but do shorter intervals. I think you do need a Gymboss or equivalent though, to keep you regular :D , but although so many people have said it makes them faster I haven't seen any evidence of that for me yet. Oh, sorry - 8 seconds!

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32 Replies

  • Annie you were out there doing it, thats the main thing! I think run/walk is an individual thing. Those gremlins can creep in if we are not careful. For that reason I don't intend making run:walk too regular an occurence. I'm concerned I might become convinced I can only walk.

    We are doing just great!

  • Yes, I agree, Jacs, I worry that I might lose the ability to run continuously. I think perhaps if I ever get past 15km :O I might have to re-think, but as I am now, I am possibly better just plodding along. I think also that as I extend the distance, there is no way I'm also going to be getting faster so I needn't worry about that :D

    We are doing just great, you're right!

  • I ued run walk at parkrun yesterday as the first 2k felt tough, i think i set off too fast. So i reverted to 60/30 run walk as a means of getting me round, which it did thankfully. I think i will only use run/walk as a similar fall back. Though Im a plodder really, once I get going I can continue well. My OH says Im like a metronome, i think he means it as a compliment! Mind you Im a slow metronome

  • Metronomes keep going though, that's the thing :)

  • I observed someone doing walk run at my parkrun yesterday. When I start my runs I'm always concertedly slow as my lungs need to be eased in. So I often find at the beginning of parkrun I'm overtaken by a lot of people who start too fast, who I then overtake when they end up having to walk to recover. However as I speed up I feel I enter a different section of runners who are running in a more planned way. This was where I overtook a guy who was walking, who then sped past me, then I encountered as he was walking again, then woosh he went past again, etc etc. Eventually I sped up enough to stay ahead of his dizzying back and forths. So compared to your steady plodding I think I'm a steady speed builder. But it was interesting to see walk run being implemented so mechanically. His intervals were much shorter than you describe. About 2 mins running then 30 seconds walking maybe...

  • Yes, normally everyone dashes ahead of me because at any event I am very conscious that I haven't done my normal warm-up, so I take it quite slowly (and I am a slow runner anyway!) . Then as I get going I speed up (marginally) and start to overtake people who are running out of puff. I know what you mean about the run/walkers though, I often find myself leapfrogging people :D

    I've tried 60/30 and 180/60. This was in km instead, and it didn't really work that well either. Perhaps the thing to do is just run until I'm ready for a rest on longer runs, walk for a bit and run again. How novel would that be? :D

  • You could use sami murphy week 1 maybe? Run 10m walk 1 m, if you really want to give it another go at parkrun?

  • Yes, that's an idea. Thanks, I'll try that next time!

  • But you tried something new Annie and surely that's the important bit AND you knocked 8 seconds off your PB!!! That's brilliant. I sometimes do walk/run unintentionally as I take photos on some of my runs so that's a bit stop/start 🙂 Great fun though 😊

  • When I say a PB... :D

    Yes, I went with the intention of trying something new so from that point of view it was a success. I'm not sure I really need to change what I do as yet, I'm just thinking ahead to longer runs and trying things out now. I have yet to tackle taking water and something to eat with me so that will need more experimentation at some point. It's all good fun!

  • Parkrun might not be the best distance for it but I get your drift

    I can't run and do mental calcs 😊 Can't read the *oddam watch for starters 😊

    Run walk feels lovely, too lovely 😊 Still, sometimes you need to do it, and it works

    Good news on your PB ☺

  • I've never been good at mental maths, and when I'm also looking at other t-shirts ('Ooh, 100 Park runs! Ooh, a Brighton finisher! Ooh, a Chatsworth 10k!") and trying to avoid dogs on leads and squinting at my watch and getting my time numbers mixed up with my distance numbers... doomed!

    I reckon that if I keep taking 5 seconds off my PB every time I go to Parkrun, and I go every three weeks, I should get my time under 30 minutes by my 100th birthday :D

  • Haha Annie 😊

  • If you like slow running, and let's face it who doesn't, you will do well at longer distances. Take your time, have a break, have a kit kat sorta carry on. Stop, admire the view, press on ☺

  • Yeah, I think this may be a better plan. Run until I'm feeling it, stop for a bit of a walk and a snack, start running again. Providing I don't enter any events I'll be fine!

  • Yeah but on an event you can move up a gear 🙂

  • Second gear! Yay! :D

  • Ahh, Annie your post made me smile and grimace - all that mental calculation is just too much!! But well done for trying something different. I definitely prefer to keep just plodding on, maintaining a rhythm. Like Ruth I had a walk/runner dashing past me in my 13k race last weekend. He was clearly following a plan, unlike others who were walking because they were out of puff! I agree with you about longer distances and the need to experiment with hydration, food and pace. I will be watching out for your future posts with interest. :)

  • Yeah, thinking and running? Too hard! :D It's all just idle speculation at the moment, so no pressure, fortunately. We'll see how it goes, and I'll continue to post with the results :)

  • I love run:walking (Jeffing). I tend to use 4:1 (minutes) for a parkrun. It takes me 53ish minutes - but running as far as I can, then walking a bit, then running again takes me longer than that. I can still only run for a maximum of 40 minutes without stopping. So Jeffing works for me as I can make it without feeling like a failure.

  • How do you time your intervals? Do you use a Gymboss or equivalent, or do you just look at your watch? I'm glad you've found the thing that works for you - no failure whatsoever there :)

  • I use an app on my phone. It's called "Run / Walk Intervals Timer" - here it is for Android:

    Not sure if it's available for iPhone.

    You put in how long you want to run for, how long to walk for, and how many intervals of that (maximum of 60). You can add an optional warm up and cool down too. Then it tells you "Run, run, run" or "Walk, walk, walk" and there's an option for it to vibrate too.

    It can run at the same time as your music, so you can play music or a podcast and the timer interrupts the sound with your prompt.

  • Brilliant - thank you, I never thought of looking for an app for my phone! There were loads to choose from and I have downloaded the Gymboss one. Thank you! That's a great help and I shall try it next time I try run/walk :)

  • Good stuff. I couldn't get on with the Gymboss app - too many ads and quite difficult to set up. I also didn't like the harsh beeping. I prefer the ease of set up with the other one, and the nice lady telling me to walk or run!

  • Thanks - I'll watch out for that. Good to know that there's a whole world of apps out there that I can try if this one doesn't work for me. I'm very grateful for your help! Happy walk/running with your nice lady :)

  • I find run/walk is a great way to start adding to your distance but am not convinced it leads to a faster overall time. After 18 months of prevarication about running beyond 5k, run/walk got me to do 8 x 1k run / 2 minute walk sets without it feeling much worse than running 5k. A few runs later I have been able to join up a continuous 7.5k. Next week I will try 10 such blocks and then work to join up around 9k of continuous running. Etc etc, hope it gets me ready for the 10 mile Great South Run I have signed up to do in October!

    I think the route to speed is short sprint intervals e.g. 30/20/10 where you run a 5 minute block repeating 30 seconds steady, 20 seconds faster, 10 seconds very fast, then run slowly for a couple of minutes, then repeat the 7 minute set another 2 or 3 times. Juicyju can explain this better than me!

  • Thanks, Coddfish . I can plod on for 13k so far, I'm just... um... steady :D I do intervals and hills each week to try and work on my pace, and I suppose over shorter distances it is improving, but I wondered if the run/walk would give me that effortless glide over 15k at a faster pace. I'm not convinced yet, but others on here may have persuaded me to keep trying and to experiment with different intervals.

    I'm sure you'll be ready for your GSR. You have time to build up - what's 10 miles, about 16 and a bit km? No problem! Adding 10% of your total distance each week is fine - and taking an easier week in every four, just to let all your muscles have a rest, is also a good idea.

  • I tried the walk/run thing. I wish I did like it, there are a lot of benefits to it, but like you I just don't like "interrupting" my runs :)

  • I'll keep trying to see if I can find an interval that does help, but I suspect I am mentally conditioned to think that if I stop, that's it - game over! I need to re-think this before run-walk will be a success :)

  • I will easily knock 4-5 mins off my 5km time with run/walk. But like you say it is a personal thing. I like the breaks and my heart rate regulates with the run/walk otherwise it stays too high. If it was just a matter of 8 seconds I would stay with the continuous running, maybe use the run walk for interval training and pick up the speed for short bursts as I have found that really does help to improve stamina. Most of all though have fun with it Rfcx.

  • 4 to 5 minutes???????????????????????????????????? Wow! How do you do that? That is amazing! What intervals do you use?

    I have noticed that when I do my interval runs, either the Speed podcast or my variation using lamp posts, I am no faster than when I run the same route normally :( I think I am a one-paced runner :( But that's okay, because I can run :)

  • I think when I run continuously my heart rates goes higher and I just keep slowing down and slowing down to compensate, when I walk/run, I run like a bat out of hell then rest with a walk. I am wondering that now that I have the opportunity to start again should I try and run slower and see what happens, it is just that I really don't know how to slow down even more without walking. I am like you one paced, at the moment but would really like to change it. I did get into the habit of my last Km of every run just running as fast as my legs could go until I was at my limit, I found that over the summer this little bit of a run started to show in my overall speed as I got a little faster. I think something's you have to wiggle things around until they suit you. 😀Xxx

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