I'm facing a long run, an ultra, that I'm pretty sure I can't do without walking. I can and will try to practice doing it at least once, but I don't really know how to best use walking breaks or how they work.

What strategy works?

And why does it work? Does it help control overheating? Maybe helps remove waste from the muscles? Allows time to burn more fat? I know I'm reaching here.

------After ultra run-------------------

I didnt practice any run/walk methods, and let my weekly mileage drop to 20-30 3 weeks too early. I used Galloway's 5 minute run to 30 second walk ratio and kept in mind how it changed (referring to his book) for slower paces. Previous 50k runs last year always resulted in a slow shuffle at about 12 min/mile, but in this 46 mile run I was at 11 min/mile up to 36 miles. The run/walk helped finish the ultra. I'm still no closer to understanding this really, and if asked to run another half mile at the end I might have quit. 100 miles still feels impossible.

Other runners had different methods and results. Many who ran faster ended up spending a lot of time at aid stations and fell way behind. One speedy lady ran the first 20 miles then did a run/walk of 8 min/ 2 min, or at least that was her planned before she disappeared down the trail. Inspiring to watch. The winner according to his Strava data ran much if not all of the course at an unbelievable pace. Most people seemed to shun walking as much as they shunned running fast which was anything faster than 10 min/mile in the first few miles.

Still digesting the one answer here, but maybe the answer is in there.

No way can I do 100 miles sucessfuly the first time without understanding this first, but maybe failure is worth the lessons learned...

  • Can you boil down your question to a clear and concise sentence? I'm having trouble understanding what you are asking.
    – John
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 7:24
  • @JJosaur Sorry, but I dont see what the confusion could be. Just the title is enough. What is wrong?
    – Jason
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 9:57
  • Think your question is asking "why do walking breaks allow me to run for a longer period of time?" but I'm not sure.
    – John
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 9:59
  • @JJosaur Oh I see now, I'll update it, Thanks
    – Jason
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 1:53

1 Answer 1


You have to build economy in the tecnique of run.

This means you want to increase your speed as much as you can but without going above the 4 mmol threshold of lactic acid in the blood.

For the breaks

If you want to use them in training, you can use repetition of 1/3 or 1/4 of the distance you want to run at slightly higher intensity ( for exemple 4x10km at >10 beats x min of your normal %HR )

And you can train even for the distance itself, trying to improve the running skill aswell as the metabolic machine to endure such a race.

It all about the total weekly workload.

On top of that you require instruments to measure your Hear Rate and use it as a parameter to work in the right "zone".

Now, if you wanna use it during a race just use it whenever your pace is starting to decrease or your movement is not synchronized ( sign that fatigue is starting to build up ).

It will prevent you from overheating as long as you are hydrated, and yes it will remove waste from the muscle ( that is a process always ongoing ) as quickly as possible.

Im telling you as soon as you feel tired because you dont want to indulge in glycolitic metabolism too much expecially if you dont have a great oxidative system or your muscle are still not at that level of fenotypization.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.