This last weekend I tried a new training technique that should hold some promise for some long races this season. I was in Chicago for the weekend which is nothing but flat and mostly road/asphalt running (and lots of snow!). This stuff really tears me up if I'm running anything longer than 2 hours. Since I needed to get 30 miles in I did a 10 miler on Saturday and a 22.6 miler on Sunday.
The Primanti Sandwich -- A Pittsburg Favorite
I knew I was going to be on my feet for up to 4 hours on Sunday so I decided to try something different than the typical long grind pavement. I decided I'd do 15 minute/5 minute run/walk combination the entire time. I've heard several accounts of ultra runners doing planned walking like this during races with very positive results.
How did it go? I think it is something I'll be doing on a regular basis when I'm putting in longer aerobic runs. There are many benefits to the run/walk approach. First, I'm able to keep my running form during the entire time. Turnover, leg lift, and stride, the things that tend to get sloppy on longer runs, are maintained with the run/walk approach. Another benefit is my average heart rate remained pretty low, 132 bpm, even in during the later miles.
Another benefit of the run-walk technique is recovery. Neither during the run nor after did I ever feel the soreness normally associated with running on roads. My legs grew tired, but not enough to slow my pace or change my form. Run-recover-run-recover. Unlike when I finish most long runs, I felt relaxed and ready to keep running. Relaxed enough to enjoy a Primonti Sandwich and a Guinness before the Superbowl at Dunlay's on the Square!