I figured my pattern of faster times using a 4:1 run/walk ratio would disappear below the 7-mile mark.
Not so. My time over 4 laps (5 miles) at the Ossian trail doing a regular run was 54:42:03. Walking every fifth minute on the same course resulted in a time of 50:14:5 — nearly 4 1/2 minutes faster. (Or more accurately, less slow. But still.)
My average pace was 10:02 minutes per mile. Splits were 10:22, 10:21, 10:02, 9:54 and 9:27.
For me, 9:27 is a decent 5K pace (or 10K pace when I’m in pretty good shape). It kinda freaks me out that I can do that WALKING EVERY FIFTH MINUTE over 5 miles. It’s true what they say: You just can’t help running faster when you’ve got these little breaks built into your run.
Viewed another way, though, a 4:1 run/walk ratio is not unlike a speed workout. Or at least that’s how it feels to me. I really push during those 4-minute run intervals and just barely get my wind back during the 1-minute walk. Maybe that’s not doing it “right,” but it’s fun. The miles just seem to fly by. (On the other hand, those “meditation-like” experiences I was talking about yesterday on long slow distance runs? Non-existent on these guys.)
To recap, in previous run/walk experiments I shaved 13 minutes off a 15-miler, 10 minutes off a 10-miler, 4 minutes off a 7-miler, and 7 minutes off a course of undetermined length that I ran twice, first running the whole way for time, then doing it again at a 4:1 run/walk.