Up until 2006 I was terrified of running. I had so many bad memories from PE class and hated how running reminded me of how unhealthy I was. Whether I was overweight, out of shape, or battling asthma, I hated running.
In 2006, as I started to lose weight, I decided to start running. I absolutely hated it at first, but was amazed by how quickly my body adapted. A 5 minute run turned into a 10 minute run and then a 15 minute run turned into a 30 minute run. My body was stronger than I had realized and for the first time in my life, I began to enjoy running.
In 2010 I decided to run a half marathon through Team in Training, but was overwhelmed by the thought of running 13.1 miles. Sure I had learned to run for 30 minutes straight, but how was I going to run for 3 hours? At my first group run, the concept of Run Walk Run was introduced to me and I instantly fell in love. I learned how to Become a Runner with Run Walk Run.
Based off of the Galloway Run Walk Run Method, I was encouraged to take pre-established walk breaks throughout my run. Whether I was running for 5 minutes and then walking for 1 minute or running for 3 minutes and then walking for 30 seconds, Run Walk Run broke up the distance into manageable units and allowed my body to recover.
I have run almost every race since 2010 using the run walk run method and I’m so thankful for the distances it has allowed me to run. Sure I could run for 3-5 miles straight, but I am significantly faster and recover quicker when I utilize the run walk run method.
I am most comfortable on a 2 minute run and a 1 minute walk interval, but I am starting to play around with those times. Starting out you may want to run for 30 seconds and walk for 2 minutes. Over time you can increase the amount of time you’re running and decrease the amount of time you’re walking… but only when you’re ready. In the same way, if you’re comfortable running for longer periods of time, you could run for 5 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Whatever you decide, be comfortable finding an interval you’re happy with.
I used to swear by the Gymboss Timer for my runs, but I recently found the IntervalTimer App for iPhone and really love it. The App allows you to set up whatever interval you’re comfortable with and then plays an alarm of your choice when each interval is complete. You can also play music from your iPhone directly through the app, which is awesome.
Yesterday I went out for a 30 minute run before breakfast with my family. I set the IntervalTimer App to a 2:1 interval (running for 2 minutes and walking for 1 minute), pressed start on my Runkeeper app, and enjoyed a 30 minute run. No matter how my body is feeling, I know that I can run for 2 minutes at a time. I’m currently running a 10 minute 30 second pace when I’m running, which averages out to about a 12 minute mile with my minute long walk intervals. The pace and intervals worked really well for me yesterday and I got a great workout in before the day got going.
If you’ve been wanting to give running a try but your fears are stopping you, consider using run walk run. No one says you HAVE to run the entire time in order to be considered a runner. Let go of your fears and choose a run walk run interval that you are comfortable with. Trust me, your body will amaze you and you’ll learn to love how you feel after you finish your run. It’s why I continue to sign up for races and continue to run, despite the fears that can often cloud my mind. Running can be a really exhilarating experience, you just have to fine a pace and plan that work well for you.