Learn to Run Before You Can Walk

No, I have not lost my mind. At least that is what the voices inside my head tell me. And I did not get the words out of order. This was a revelation I had while running this past Saturday. Sometimes you do need to learn to run before you can walk.

I have spoken with a whole lot of people who wanted to start running. My advice to them: start walking. If you have never run, your body will hate you and embarrass the hell out of you if you just take off running. And odds are you will give up pretty quickly. If you start walking and gradually add in running, your body and people driving down the road wondering if they should call 911 will appreciate it.

But this post is not for new runners or moms of toddlers. This is for the stupid people who run long distances. When you tell someone you did a 100 mile race they usually laugh, stare at you in disbelief and then say, “You ran 100 miles?” Of course, that is quickly followed by the whole “I don’t even like to drive 100 miles.” But here’s the deal, except for the elites, no one runs the whole 100 miles. You have to walk some: for recovery, to eat, for steep climbs, etc. Walking is part of long running events.

The year I finally finished Rocky Raccoon, I did a lot of walking during training. I knew it was going to be important in the later miles, so I wanted to practice a good pace and get my body used to it. And if you ask my pacers from the race, my walking was pretty brisk. Plus I was ready to be DONE!

Fast forward to the 2015 Louisiana Marathon which Christine & I “ran”. We trained to run the race. We planned on running the race. But Christine had some back issues and the doctor said no running. But she could still walk. So we walked the whole damn marathon.


I say it like that because we did not do any walk training at all. And we were hauling ass. It probably hurt worse than any other marathon I have ever done. We did finish it in 6 hours and 18 minutes. Here are our mile splits for the race (probably why it hurt so bad):


So here’s the bottom line: after you have learned how to run and you get some wild hair to go longer and longer…….learn how to walk. It will make the actual race that much more enjoyable if you are prepared for it.  I know it will be part of my training in the near future. At least once I learn how to run long again.

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