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  • Writer's pictureklhayden2005

No More 1-minute Walk Breaks

The 30-second Walk Break

Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:

1 – Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run. 2 – Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.

3 – Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.

Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.

The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.

Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away.

After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.

Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:

A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race. As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi.

This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.

Avoiding the Slow-down

Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.

The Bottom Line

If you are in a pace group that already uses a 30-second walk break or less, you probably won’t see a change in the table below. If you are in a pace group that uses a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. It’s that simple, or at least it can be. If you want to play around a bit with other shorter walk break times, see the options Jeff prescribes for each pace.


Pace/mi Run Walk

7:00 6 min 30 sec (or run a mile/walk 40 seconds) 7:30 5 min 30 sec 8:00 4 min 30 sec (or 2/15) 8:30 3 min 30 sec (or 2/20) 9:00 2 min 30 sec (or 80/20)

9:30-10:45 90/30 or 60/20 or 45/15 or 60/30 or 40/20

10:45-12:15 60/30 or 40/20 or 30/15 or 30/30 or 20/20

12:15-14:30 30/30 or 20/20 or 15/15

14:30-15:45 15/30

15:45-17:00 10/30

17:00-18:30 8/30 or 5/25 or 10/30

18:30-20:00 5/30 or 5/25 or 4/30

30-second Proving Ground

In 2014, Jeff asked Program Directors and Group Leaders around the country to try these new strategies, especially for groups that had used a 1-minute walk break. Universally, these Guinea Pigs and their groups reported positive results.

1 – Members were better able to keep up with the group. 2 – Conversations and stories were livelier as members had less fatigue.

3 – Fewer members missed group runs due to injury. 4 – Lots of PR’s in last season’s races!!

Acceleration-Glider Drills – Page 115 in Galloway Training Programs

One of the most common objections Jeff hears regarding walk breaks is “I just don’t like all the constant jarring from stopping and starting.” Well, no. “Constant jarring” sounds horrible. So let’s avoid that by practicing accelerating into a run and gliding down to a walk:

1 – Start by jogging for about 15 steps then fast jogging for about 15 steps. 2 – Pick up your leg rhythm by shortening stride length and gradually increasing leg turnover for next 15 steps or so. 3 – Now you are up to speed, so just glide, keeping feet low to the ground, using very little effort. 4 – Continue to glide for 20 to 40 steps, gradually slowing down to a walk. 5 – Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Acceleration-Glider Drills done at the beginning of your run twice a week will help you ease into and out of walk breaks comfortably – no jarring required!

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