This article was published on March 4th, 2013
All training regiments use the same foundation – stress and rest. Stress builds muscles and makes the body stronger, while rest provides valuable recovery and prepares the body for the next phase of stress.
Long distance runners, those who run half, full or ultra marathons, need active rest. Active rest is a short period where the runner continues to move forward, but at a brisk walk pace. Most long distance runners will run for 10 minutes and take a 1-minute active walking break. 20:1 walk breaks are recommended for runners that have a faster pace and train at higher intensity.
“This active rest helps flush lactic acid out of the system,” explains Running Room’s founder and CEO, John Stanton. “As we approach our anaerobic threshold, 85 per cent of our maximum heart rate, our body starts producing lactic acid. This leaves us heavy-legged with a queasy stomach.”
Walk-run combinations reduce and dissipate lactic acid build-up in the muscles. The cycle distributes the workload to various muscle groups, delaying fatigue and improving running efficiency.
Fast walk breaks also allow the lower body muscles to enjoy some subtle stretching. This seemingly small stretching provides huge results. It provides the muscles with improve range of motion.
In addition, walk breaks are perfect for getting a quick sip of water or electrolytes, or for having nutrition – all which help fuel the body.
“Walk breaks prevent a slow down in the long run, keeps the pace consistent, and minimizes injuries,” said John Stanton. “Walk-run combinations should be done both on the long-run training days and on race day.”