Am I allowed to walk? Yes, even if you are a runner

col-dawnWhiteLet’s face it, it’s been hot and humid this summer! It’s been downright unbearable at times and yet, I still see you out there getting your run in. Sometimes I’ve even seen you walking.

Have you ever had someone ask how far you ran and find yourself answering like this, “I ran 4 miles today, well, I mean, I ran 3 miles and walked a half mile and then I ran the rest of the way.”

Why do we feel the need to clarify our training to others? Is walking taboo? If we walk during a training run or race does that mean we aren’t a real runner?

I used to be part of the “never stop to walk” club but have since gotten a little smarter about running and realize walk breaks can have a place in our training and racing.

I mean, if Olympian Jeff Galloway thinks it’s acceptable and beneficial to walk, why shouldn’t we? The Galloway run/walk method has encouraged thousands of runners/walkers to complete longer distances than ever before.

I’m not saying you have to schedule walking breaks but you can learn to listen to your body and take a walk break if needed. In fact, I have taken several walk breaks in my last several half and full marathons. This past February, I walked at least 5-6 times and ran my 2nd fastest marathon ever.

So how can taking walk breaks be beneficial?

1. Walking allows you to catch your breath and recover for a brief moment.

2. Scheduled walk breaks keeps you in a rhythm throughout the race.

3. Walking helps get you back to your goal pace if you started the race too fast.

4. Walking through a water stop ensures the liquid goes in your mouth and not everywhere else.

I encourage you NOT to join the “never stop to walk” club but rather be smart, train smart, and you will see improvement. And, when you cross that finish line, be proud of your achievement. You’ve worked hard and deserve it!

Dawn White is a sales associate and certified running coach at Black Dog Running Company in Myrtle Beach.

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