How Can I Measure My Run/Walk Intervals?

Man and Woman walking

"I've been doing the run/walk method, but I don't strictly measure my running and walking intervals. How can I measure them?"

If you're doing the run/walk method, that means that you're running for a certain period of time or distance, and then walking for a different interval. Some run/walkers will use landmarks, such as lampposts or telephone poles to measure their run or walk intervals, but man run/walkers use time.

It can be annoying to constantly check your watch to know when your interval is over. Many run/walkers use a watch or other device that beeps to signal when they need to switch to walking or running.

A simple running watch such as the Timex Ironman (Buy women's Timex Ironman or men's Timex Ironman on has an interval timer feature. Another product that is a favorite among run/walkers is the Gymboss, a small, easy-to-use interval timer that can clip onto your shorts, shirt, jacket, or hat. Some run/walkers like the Gymboss (buy Gymboss on because the beep is louder than a typical running watch, so it's easier to hear, especially when run/walking in a crowded race.

Why Use the Run/Walk Method?

Some runners mistakenly associate walking during a race or run with giving up and will only walk reluctantly when they reach the point of extreme fatigue or discomfort.

I encourage runners to embrace walking as part of their overall strategy for completing long runs or races, or as a cross-training activity for non-running days in their training schedule.

Here are some of the many benefits of walk breaks:

  • Walking helps you increase your muscle endurance without putting as much stress on your joints and muscles as running does.
  • Your heart rate is lower when you're walking, which means your body will use fat for energy rather than mostly fast-burning carbs.
  • Using the run/walk method can be easier mentally than trying to run the entire distance. Having a short walk break to look forward to can make a long distance feel much more manageable. And breaking up the monotony of a long run with walk intervals makes the time go by much faster.
  • Walking during a long run or race gives your running muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover, which can help you complete your planned distance and also help prevent injuries.
  • Some people who use a run/walk strategy during races actually have faster overall finishing times than they do when they attempt to run the entire race distance.

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