Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run/Walk technique for hald and full Ironman

Simon says: - This is a very interesting article by Johan Stemmet from South Africa on the run/walk technique that he has been trying in his training for Ironman South Africa. He just competed in the South African Age-Group Championships and won the silver medal for the 40-49 category (half Ironman) by using this technique. His half marathon time was 1hr26min57 and overall time 4hr33. No too shabby a time I think you'll agree so read on...

Tri-Stemmet writes: -

Here is the silver medal I won this past weekend at the National Long Distance Triathlon Champs.

Not long ago I listened to a podcast where Bobby McGee talked about the run/walk technique and how it can improve your running time. It basically says you must never run more than 10 minutes at a time and then have a brisk walk of 1 minute. He however explained that you can start your marathon by walking 30 seconds during the first hour, 45 seconds during the second hour and then walk 1 minute from the third hour but keep your running at 10 minutes maximum.

The important thing is to walk at a fast pace and don't slow down completely. As he explained if you look at the upper body you shouldn't notice a difference between the run and the walk intervals, the upper body must keep it's running form.

Using this technique also helps you to break down the marathon in 10 minute intervals and you just focus on the next ten minutes. I must say this works as you don't have this huge number in your head where you know you must run 21 or 42 kilometers but only 10 minutes at a time.

Now there will be people that says it works for them and others will says it's not for them and them you will get a lot of people that are too scared to try it.

I decided I will give it a go and I must admit at first I was not too sure if it was the right thing to do but I was determined to give it a go and not give up as I will then never know if it works or not. During training I kept the walking intervals at 1 minute.

As time progressed my running pace was at the same level as when I ran non stop, my heart rate was lower and I wasn't that tired after my long runs meaning I could recover faster.

During Ironman70.3 in January I ran 10 minutes and walked 1 minute but after the race I realized that the 1 minute walking intervals was too long for a half marathon. I then decided to cut the walk intervals down to 30 seconds during my training.

During this past weekends Half Ironman I decided to use the technique again and see if there is an improvement. Well I had my fastest ever half marathon and my body felt good. According to the official results I did the run leg in 1h28:03 but according to my watch I finished in 1h26:57.
race results at

I think the transition times were included as the race results don't have a separate time for transition. Below is a breakdown of the 15 laps it took me to complete the run leg. During the last run interval I was just short of the finish line and decided to keep running until the end, that's why the last interval is not 10 minutes but 13:26 minutes.

If you are not into numbers or technical stuff you don't have to read further and can stop here, as all the numbers below is a little to much for some people.

O' and before I forget, wish me luck please. I spoke to a person today and he asked me to send him my sports resume as he might be interested in sponsoring me. I just met the person by chance but maybe I can have my first and only sponsor very soon:-)) Now I just need to compile a resume and make it look professional, not like my average work of art on the PC.

Lap/ Lap Time/ HR Avg/ Distance/ Cadence/ Stride Length
1) 10:00.0/ 154/ 2.417/ 93/ 119

2) 00:30.4/ 152/ 0.08/ 79/ 93

3) 09:58.9 / 156/ 2.556/ 93/ 127

4) 00:29.9/ 154/ 0.077 /78/ 96

5) 10:01.3/ 157/ 2.643/ 92/ 131

6) 00:30.4/ 158/ 0.076/ 75/ 93

7) 09:59.6/ 157/ 2.445/ 91/ 123

8) 00:29.3/ 151/ 0.077/ 80/ 93

9) 10:02.2/ 156/ 2.445/ 91/ 123

10) 00:29.7/ 153/ 0.073/ 74/ 94

11) 10:00.6/ 155/ 2.485/ 92/ 124

12) 00:29.5/ 156/ 0.074/ 77/ 88

13) 09:59.4/ 154/ 2.381/ 91/ 120

14) 00:29.6/ 151/ 0.07/ 75/ 86

15) 13:26.8/ 154/ 3.185/ 91/ 123

Tot 1h26:57/ 155/ 21.084/ 84.8/ 108.9

Johan Stemmet's blog can be found here: - TRI-STEMMET. Johan also qualified for the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii last year and successfully completed the race in October.


plee said...

fascinating! i wud definitely be trying this after IMMY. then mebbe my trick knees will be more forgiving.

Mich said...

it's call walk breaks