Start Running with the Run Walk Method

Start Running with the Run Walk Method

Do you know the Run Walk Method? We tell you everything you need to know about its benefits and when to do it. Start running progressively!

What is the Run Walk Method?

It’s a training programme that alternates periods of running with periods of walking, which gives it its name.

We all love our “methods” and “programmes”.

Running beginners

We see them as formulas that help take us from “point A” to “point B” without having to think too much.

In the world of Running and physical conditioning the so-called Run Walk method has been around for a long time.

What’s involved?

The Run Walk method has appeared on the fitness programme as a way of approaching running progressively and minimising the risk of injury.

Especially in the face of the avalanche of people who, without previous experience or training, throw themselves into the practice of this sport (which today is the sport that generates the most injuries amongst people, by a landslide).


However, as we’ll see, despite not considered something revolutionary or new, the Run Walk running method has many applications and benefits.

However, if you are a Spartan warrior looking for new challenges and with years of training behind you, perhaps this method is not what you are looking for.

You can start running with the help of the Run Walk method

We all know how to run, or at least we think do.

When a person with no sporting background and who hasn’t trained before decides to do some physical exercise, it’s very likely that the first activity they think about taking up is running.

This is for a number of reasons:

  • In first place, running is free.

We don’t need monthly gym memberships or special equipment, bar trainers. And at the same time, everyone has access to outdoor areas where they can practice and aren’t restricted by any sort of opening hours.

This high accessibility means it is the entry point into the sporting world for a lot of people. But is it a safe entry point?
  • Running is the sporting activity that generates the most injuries.

As I was saying before, the reasons are simple to understand:

  • Little supervision (we do this at our own risk) and planning (few people have a trainer to programme their sessions);
  • Anarchic progression, with very extensive sessions that we’re not prepared for;
  • Bad technique that’s never corrected; and, let’s not forget,
  • The fact that it’s practiced en masse also aids it in being the number 1 injury-inducing activities.
Run Walk running is a method for progressively and safely approaching running and sport in general, and has many applications, as we will see in the following section.

Running with the help of the run walk method

In this way, instead of launching into the race without further ado and until the body can withstand it, this method proposes a progressive system.

It’s a good way to get in shape, improving cardio-respiratory fitness at the same time as strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments that support you in the kilometres you’ll soon be running. Visit this linked post about the Benefits of Running.

Benefits of Run Walk

Get in shape progressively

The most evident benefit is that it is a structured and simple to follow programme that really helps beginner runners or any age start running safely.

And in this way it helps prevent many of the injuries resulting from first running sessions being approached without preparation.

A good way to start running again after a break

The Run Walk method is excellent for getting back to your previous physical form by establishing a progressive overload.

This is benefit is particularly current, given that in practically the whole world there has been a stop in activity in 2020.

We witnessed how, once the restrictions were lifted,hordes of amateur athletes and even ex-athletes took to the streets, despite the call from trainers and professionals for care to be taken with physical exercise and the precaustions required to start running again, as we discuss in this link.

And after an illness

We spoke in a recent post about the possible consequences that COVID-19 could have at the cardiovascular level and the need for precaution when returning to physical activity. The Run Walk method is, once again, a way of doing so progressively.

The method, although ideal for running, can also be used for other sporting activity: walking, swimming, cycling or rowing, to name but a few.

Patients with health problems

For those of us involved in caring for patients with limiting health problems, this type of adaptation to sport is particularly useful.

Benefits of Run Walk

In consultation, it is very difficult to sell 30 minutes of physical exercise at a stable intensity to someone who has not practiced sport before.

It’s easier to offer period of a minute or two of efforts at a time, followed by 3 to 4 minutes of recuperation.

Bringing HIIT closer to the non-sporting population

The Run Walk method is no less than a “decaffeinated” version of the famous HIIT training, where periods of low intensity (walking) are alternated with more intense periods (running), and we don’t necessarily have to talk about “high” intensity.

The benefits of these changes in intensity are reflected in the literature.

The ones I like to remind people about are the cost efficiency in terms of time spent/results and the higher efficiency for fat oxidation than training performed at a continuous intensity. If you want to know more about this topic click here.

A good way to lose weight?

It will certainly raise our calorie expenditure and improve our cardio-respiratory fitness, but it is not comparable in terms of impact to a well-planned conditioning programme or the already mentioned HIIT.

Training Plan

The Run Walk method is not revolutionary in terms of weight loss or physical conditioning.

In my opinion, the Run Walk Running Method shouldn’t be thought of as a way to lose weight (neither should any form of working out), but as an approach to sports practice for the uninitiated, those who are coming back from a break in activity, or who simply do not enjoy more intense practice and want to stay at a more moderate level.

Run Walk Running Method Training Plan

A simple training plan based on the Run Walk Running method would be:

First week

  • We’ll do three days of Run Walk training: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • 4 minutes of fast walking followed by 2 minutes of gentle running. Do 5 circuits of this for 30 minutes

Second week

  • We’ll do 4 days of training
  • 3 minutes of fast walking and 2 minutes running. Total: 30 minutes.

Third week

  • We’ll keep up with 4 days of training.
  • 2 minutes of fast walking and 2 minutes running, at a ratio of 1:1. Maintain this ratio for the whole session (30 minutes).

Fourth week

  • 4 days of training
  • 1 minute of fast walking and 3 minutes running at a moderate intensity.
We can continue the progression by reducing the walking time progressively, increasing the total working time, increasing the number of weekly sessions or increasing the intensity of the run when it is time to run.

Errors to avoid

The principal error you should avoid at all costs is not following the progression properly, being impatient and not trusting the process.

At the beginning of the Run Walk programme you might feel a little underwhelmed and want to do a bit more.

Starting to run

Or you might even return home thinking “I’ve done nothing today”.

However, the reason for the programme is to establish a progressive overload that progressively improves both your cardio-respiratory fitness and the ability of your muscles and joints to cope with increasingly or more intense sporting activity.

If you’re the kind of athlete where the head can do more than the body, you’ll have to make an extra effort to control yourself and do things right.

Related Entries

Review of Run Walk Method

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About Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera, a young doctor dedicated to the areas of nutrition, exercise and metabolism, combines his clinical activity with his vocation for dissemination.
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