I made a huge mistake the first three years of my barefoot running.
What did it cost me? Well, I partially tore both my Achilles tendons, I gave my tender calve a level 2 strain, and I probably fractured most of the tiny bones in my naked feet. The mistake that I made is well known, often ignored, and entirely misunderstood. Like most barefoot runners eager to bare their soles on their neighborhood streets, I suffered from TMTS (too much too soon). But what does that really mean? I’m sure you’ve seen those annoying letters on many blogs about barefoot running. For me, and I surmise for 99% of the other barefoot runners out there, TMTS means you’re running far too often and often too far. If I had only known what I know now, I would have been able to run further, longer, and with fewer or no injuries in a shorter amount of time! My transition from running with cushioned shoes to bare feet would have been seamless–it was seamless, I meant smooth.
What is the secret that I missed, the one that would have saved me from injuries and allowed me to run more without running too much? It’s simple, but it’s a secret that most runners will resist. Some runners might even stop reading this blog when they discover what it is:
The secret to decreasing injuries, speeding up recovery, and increasing running pleasure, my dear friends, is to include brief and structured walk breaks into every run longer than one mile.
Most runners will wince as if they have just sipped curdled green milk. They think that running is running and that means continuous running, not walking, which in their minds, is cheating. That’s the way I felt for ten years. And for ten years, I battled injuries. But once I cranked up my mileage during the training for my marathon, I discovered that walk breaks are not cheating at all, instead they’re smart. They also allowed me to increase my weekly mileage without tiring me out or damaging my body.
Principles behind Structured Walk Breaks:
• Continuous running results in quicker fatigue & increased risk of repetitive motion injury.
• Walk breaks lead to quicker recovery.
• Walking during a run decreases stress on the spine, knees, and feet.
Why you Should Give it a Try
• It’s a smarter way to run.
• Allows you to carry on all of your life activities – even after long runs.
• The walk breaks motivate people of all fitness levels to get off of the couch and run.
• Helps runners cope and overcome fatigue allowing them to run longer distances.
• Delivers all of the benefits of running (cardio, stress relief, & endurance) without exhaustion or pain.
In the past when I ran my ten milers, non-stop, I would be spent for the rest of the day. My quads would be sore and stiff like cement, it would take me a full day to recover. With walk run, I can recuperate the same day. During my marathon training, I was able to run twenty-two miles early in the morning and still work a full eight hour day without much fatigue. I was tired but highly functional in a job that requires walking, lifting, and lots of standing. I know that there is no way I could have worked without using the run walk method.
Here are some great resources about walk run to get you started.