Can You Run a Fast Marathon Using the Run-Walk-Run Method? (A Case Study)

At the 2010 Exeter Marathon, I experimented with the Run-Walk-Run strategy that has been popularized by Jeff Galloway in an effort to see how well it would work for somebody that can run a little faster than most of the people that generally make use of the Run-Walk-Run method.

Jeff Galloway first shared this strategy with me a few years ago and told a story about how he had coached somebody using the Run-Walk-Run from a 2:33 PR to a 2:28 PR.

Fast runners are outside of his area of expertise because he doesn’t have enough data on them, so it seemed like a good opportunity for me to add a new data point.

While I was preparing for the Exeter marathon, I got in a few training runs of up to 10 miles using a 15 second walk break every mile as my run/walk ratio. I also did a mile time trial to see what sort of shape I was in, coming away with a 5:14.

So, that said, I want to get into better shape. Then I want to try this strategy in a bigger race where I’ll have people to run with. I want to see how I’ll do.

I may not have evidence that I can run a 4 minute PR and break into the 2:30s, but I don’t have evidence that I can’t. Since I feel I’m capable of it, I’m going to train for it and attempt it. This experiment was successful and tells me that further research is called for.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll go back to racing flat out. If it does, then I’ll probably still race flat out at some point, but I’ll keep playing with run-walk-run.

Either way, I’m aiming to run fast.

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