Run/walk experiment #2: Cutting 10 minutes off a 10-miler

On the one hand, this boggles my mind. How can I possibly cut more than 10 minutes off my 10-mile time (1:57 vs. 1:46:46) walking every 5th minute?

I mean, if you look at my splits at the bottom of this post, my last mile was not only my fastest, but I did it in under 10 minutes – which is not only really “fast” for me, but also included TWO minutes of walking.

As in my first (much more impromptu) experiment, I have to say this felt much more like an intervals workout than what I’d always pictured when people talked about “the run-walk method.” Because I was running 1.25 mile laps and had some idea of the time I was shooting for on each one, I had incentive to really push toward the end of each lap. Also, because I was wearing my son’s GPS watch and could see my mile splits, I got really excited when my times started getting faster – and that made me want to push harder still.

Whereas when I just go out for a run on my own, I’m almost always “running blind,” without a watch or even an Ipod to prompt a faster tempo. I tend to run whatever speed feels good at the moment – which varies over the course of the run but is almost always going to be slower than how fast I think I should be running when I’m wearing a watch.

During the 10-miler I ran on this same course about 10 days ago, I noted the time on my cell phone at the beginning and then didn’t really look at it again until the last lap or so. I knew I’d started out too fast, but it felt good at the time so I just went with that until it no longer felt good, when I slowed down. I had no idea what my mile averages were, and it wasn’t until I heard the town’s noon whistle that I was startled to realize I was really going to have to hustle if I wanted to break 2 hours.

If I’d worn Ben’s Garmin during the first run, would I have done it faster? Probably. But the second run would’ve been faster, too, if I hadn’t missed one of the alarms marking 4 minute and 1-minute intervals, which caused me to inadvertently walk 2 minutes at once during Lap 2.

On the last lap, I considered running the whole thing to get a better time. But I decided to stick  with the plan, and I have to say that last 1-minute walk helped me recover just enough to really pour it on at the end. Even so, I was shocked to see that 9:46 on the final mile.

So, splits are below. But I think on any future experiments I’ll wear the Garmin to get my running baseline as well as the run/walk time, just to reduce the number of variables at work here.

Mile 1 — 11:37

2 – 12:01

3 – 10:46

4 – 10:30

5 – 10:39

6 – 10:14

7 – 10:25

8 – 10:18

9 – 10:17

10 – 9:46

average pace: 10:39

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1 Response to Run/walk experiment #2: Cutting 10 minutes off a 10-miler

  1. Again, really interesting. Sounds weird that running/walking makes you run faster.. and then it makes sense, recovery time can give us such a push.

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