Tuesday Workout of the Week: Walk so you may run.

It’s Tuesday, and for the foreseeable future at Every48 that means it’s time for the Workout of the Week (the WOW – not to be confused with the WOD – workout of the day – that my CrossFit buddies do all the time).

The WOW is where Every48 collects particularly fun, cool, nifty workouts – maybe something I did recently, or something I heard about, or something I just think might be a great idea to try. They can be creative, fun, or just out of the box.

This week’s WOW: Walking intervals to create more quality running!

Stardate: July 10. Planet: Earth, searingly hot in the mid-Atlantic region where I was staying for a few days last week. Weather: 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Forecast: A 6.8 mile running workout, from a runner who trains almost exclusively in the far cooler temperatures of the Pacific Northwest.

Hot outside but you still want to run? Be this guy: a chill walker every mile. Two-minute walking breaks are the difference between wilting in the heat...and getting your workout on. (Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Hot outside but you still want to run? Be this guy: a chill walker every mile. Two-minute walking breaks are the difference between wilting in the heat…and getting your workout on. (Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing at all…as long as you’re using walking intervals.

Here’s what I did, courtesy of my awesome running coach: I simply placed a two-minute walking interval in between each mile of running. That’s all. Oh, and I carried a biggie water bottle with me and stayed mega-hydrated. And did all the other smart sun safety stuff: a hat, sunglasses, SPF, the works.

According to my GPS, the walking intervals covered about a tenth of a mile or a little bit more (I was averaging around .12 or .13 miles per two-minute walking interval). By the end of the workout, I’d covered 6.8 miles – 6 of them running. And – fun fact – all six of those running miles were covered at what I’d call a very decent pace (basically, my long run training pace), considering just how hot it was outside. In 80-degree heat, I was happy just to get any kind of workout in. But a quality running workout? I could never have done that without walking intervals.

One note about walking intervals: there are some coaches out there, like Jeff Galloway, who advocate their use all the way up to full marathons and get great results – often with runners who haven’t been running for a long time. Other runners use walk breaks strategically during training and run the full distance during their races. I’m in the running-the-distance camp when it comes to racing, and honestly, I always sort-of thought that walking intervals somehow took away from the full quality of a workout. But as this WOW taught me, I was completely off base there. Walking intervals can be an excellent strategic way to get more activity in when conditions aren’t at their best.

That’s this week’s WOW – give it a shot and let me know how it’s working for you.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: A rest day. Today, on this hot summer day in Seattle, I’m planning to swim. Full report tomorrow.

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