Taking a walk

During the past few weeks, I’ve been conducting research for a comprehensive guide to running for beginners. Since my primary source of information has been the local library, I’ve been delving into texts that feature way too many pictures of people wearing very short shorts and stylish striped tube socks. I think at this stage of my running career, I’m quite qualified to advise the beginning runner, though my own beginnings were not ideal. I remember thinking the best way to reduce my 5K time was to pick a pace and start running. If I wanted to run 8 minute miles in the race, I’d run 8 minute miles in training and simply try to work my way up to 5K before I collapsed. To some extent, that worked but my first “breakthrough” at the 5K distance came only after I started running slower than my planned race pace for longer distances. My second “breakthrough” occurred when I started running faster than race pace for much shorter distances (in addition to the long, slow distance runs).

Though my negative (and more rare positive) experiences during the early days of my running career have taught me a lot, I thought it prudent to revisit some of the “classic” texts of running lore. I’ve made it through Hal Higdon’s Beginner’s Running Guide, and I’m working on Jeff Galloway’s Book on Running which still demands a 3 deep waiting list at the library, despite being in print for nearly 30 years. Still in the queue are John Bingham’s Courage to Start and Amby Burfoot’s The Principals of Running. I’ve made a lot of notes for my beginners article, but I’ve also learned a bit to benefit my own running.

It probably seems obvious and I’ve always known that on easy days, it’s okay to go slow (or even walk), but the wake up call I needed this week was not just that it’s okay to go slow on easy days, but it’s really more of a requirement. With the great weather, I’ve been feeling pretty awesome on my runs these last few weeks. When I feel awesome, I like to go fast and I usually do. That can lead to problems sometimes. Easy runs, after all, allow the body to recover from hard runs and fitness is not gained through running hard workouts, but rather in recovering from them. So today on my run home from the gym, I took a walk break. It wasn’t because I was tired – I felt great. It was because I ran hard strides at the end of my 6 miles yesterday, it was a beautiful morning and I was in no hurry to get home to get ready for work. It was the most exhilarating walk break I’ve ever taken.


  1. you’re almost a for-real coach. i mean, once your published the pro’s will be calling left and right 😉

    in seriousness, i hope you can share this article whenever you’re done – be it a link or what not. though i am not a beginner, i still would like to read your works!

  2. i think people should really make it a point to tell beginners that they can walk and that its not all about running the whole time. it sets you up for failure and injury. so many thing i know now that i wish i knew then. i probably wouldnt have spent so much on physical therapy and useless running crap.

    looking forward to your guide.

  3. Can’t wait to get my hands on your book! Hurry up and get it finished. 🙂

    I was on my long run a couple of weeks ago….taking a walk break every mile or so. There were times when I was enjoying what was around me, and the weather, so much…that I forgot I needed to start running again. I wasn’t dreading the run, I wasn’t putting it off…I simply forgot to start back up. The best part of life is sitting back and enjoying it….whether you do that walking or running…it’s your choice!

    Great post!!!!

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