I've decided to give 80/20 training a go for a few months† (at least) and was wondering if I should count walking as part of the low-intensity component. Strava tells me I walk about 20km a week, but I have been considering it as "activity" rather than "exercise" because, even when I walk quite briskly (> 6.5 km/h) I am only occasionally reaching zone 1, so most of the walk isn't even "warm up" intensity judging by heart rate (I am using zones based on heart rate reserve).

Part of me would like the answer to be "yes", so I can afford more enjoyable high intensity sessions, but the more sensible part of me thinks "only if that will help in the long run".

† it was a mistake: my fitness declined - my VO2 max went down by two points (I was expecting some decline there) but more surprisingly my zone 2 and zone 3 pace became much worse (by about a minute per km!). It also greatly reduced my enjoyment of running. I've gone back to my old approach, which involves running regularly in a variety zones (including interval sessions etc.). 80:20 may not be suitable for people who only run, say, three times a week (see this video).

1 Answer 1


While both jogging and brisk walking have aerobic benefits[1] running is mechanically different series of single leg jumps compared to walking's shuffle[2].

This means you are working different sets of muscles than walking in a different way. I can't find a fact to back this up, but I believe runners have a lot more injuries then walkers, which is an argument to walk instead of run but also reveals that walking is quite different and won't help reduce injuries.

There is no set answer to your question I found in literature but training programs were built around easy runs so you shouldn't find ways to cheat and include harder runs if you want to follow their plan.

Anecdotally though, I found walking extremely helpful and good to do. It's great for recovery on its own and certainly helps, "motion is lotion."

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/1047279794900728

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16129444/

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    Yes, I also find walking a good activity to do anyway. As it happens I have given up the 80:20 thing as I just can't maintain the training volume required to make it work (I'm still going to do a zone 2 long run each week). Trying it has reduced my VO2 max by two points and my zone 2 running has become a minute slower per km than it was to start with - not what I was hoping for! Jan 17 at 20:10
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    I heard somewhere, no clue where, the 80/20 thing was more for elite runners who log a ton of miles a week. Most running being easy makes sense and should probably be followed, but perhaps doesn't need to be 80%.
    – joeyfb
    Jan 17 at 20:18
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    I saw similar advice in this video on YouTube youtu.be/KPIm0HE7pEQ?si=fBYE-Cv8cdlCGK3E&t=185 which was one of the things that prompted me to give up on 80:20, their reasoning makes sense to me (I only do three runs a week). Hopefully my fitness and enjoyment of running will return once I re-establish my old approach, which had been working well, so I was daft to change it! ;o) Jan 18 at 17:52

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