Run walking: Your ultimate Guide

run walking galloway method

Run Walking is a popular training method for runners of all levels and is also commonly referred to as the Galloway method. 

Jeff Galloway is a former Olympian who strongly advocates the use of taking walk breaks for all running levels. 

And for good reason! Want to reduce injury? Are you overwhelmed by running longer distances? Need to gain fitness? Lose Weight? Get in shape? 

Run walking could very well be your key to success! 

On this page we are going to talk about:

  •  What run walking is
  • The benefits of run walking
  • Who the Run/Walk Method is for + who can benefit most from it
  • How to find your ideal training paces 
  • How to find your ideal Run/Walk Ratio
  • How to use it if you are training or running a marathon or half marathon
  • How to begin run walking if you are new to running

What is Run Walking?

The idea behind run walking is simple.

As the name implies, you mix running with walking by doing a series of run walk intervals. 

That is, you run for a period of time and then you walk for a period of time.

Throughout the course of your run you alternate back and forth between the two so that you are neither just running nor walking but are instead run-walking.

The length of each interval will vary however typically a beginner runner will run a shorter running interval and take a longer walking interval while a more advanced runner will take a longer running interval and a shorter walking interval. 

We will talk more about run/walk interval ratios in just a bit! 


The Benefits of using the Run-Walk Method

The biggest benefit of doing a run walk style of training is that you will greatly reduce your risk of injury and stress placed on the body. 

First time marathon runners are actually one of the most susceptible populations to running injuries.

The biggest reason is the fact that they are constantly increasing their mileage and therefore the impact that they are placing on all of their joints and muscles. 

Many runners who already have a history of running injuries or who would like to stay injury-free turn to run-walking to help reduce their risk. 

Other benefits of run walking include:

  • Reduces the amount of fatigue that a runner experiences
  • the ability to recover more quickly from runs especially long runs
  • Reduces the amount of impact that is placed on your body
  • Helps you to avoid over-heating
  • Enables you to enjoy the same “runner’s high” effects 
  • Has the ability to make you a faster runner
  • Helps you to build your endurance (especially if running long-distance runs feels a bit overwhelming to you run-walk intervals breaks your run down into bite-sized manageable chunks!)
  • Reduces soreness
  • Helps to maintain control over your running form especially if you are running long distances
  • Helps you run more economically and efficiently (you will save energy!)


Who would benefit the most from run-walking

Many people think that run-walking is solely for the beginner runner however that couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

Beginner runners will find it very beneficial to include run-walk intervals into their runs as they develop cardiovascular fitness and train themselves mentally to handle longer distance runs. 

Run walking will also help beginners:

  • Establish a running base
  • Increase the time that they are able to spend running
  • Get their body adapted to running 

(Are you new to running? See my guide for beginner runners here!

There have been many, many experienced runners who use the run-walk method during their training and races and they are no slowpokes! 


The Running Populations who will benefit the most from run walking are those who:

  • Are susceptible to running injuries 
  • Recovering from a running injury
  • Are trying to build endurance
  • Are trying to build fitness level
  • Want to focus on being able to run for a certain amount of time without stopping or run for a number of miles without stopping
  • Want a more relaxed approach to half marathon and marathon training
  • Are pregnant or in the post-partum phase

How to find your ideal Run/Walk Interval Ratio

In the Galloway Method of Run Walking, Jeff Galloway tested his Run/Walk formula on hundreds of runners in order to come up with a way to predict paces at longer running distances.

He found that you could find your perfect run walk ratio by using what he calls your “Magic Mile”.

Your Magic Mile and ultimately prediction paces and run/walk ratios are easy to figure out! 

Here are the steps Jeff Galloway recommends to take to first find your training paces: 

  1. Do a warm-up and ideally run about 1 mile at a slow jog.
  2. Once you are warmed up, run a mile at a fast and hard pace.
  3. Be sure to pace yourself so that you are able to hold a hard and fast pace throughout the duration of your mile.
  4. Calculate your predicted paces for different race distances using this chart:

You could also use Jeff Galloway's Calculator to figure out your pace distances.

Once you know your ideal pace for the distance you are training for, it’s time to figure out what your Run/Walk pace should be!

You can find your pace by using the Run Walk Intervals Ratio chart below that utilizes Jeff Galloway’s training principles: 

If you use the metric system here is a pace chart in minutes per kilometer:



How to use the run-walk method in a marathon or half marathon

Many marathoners and half marathoners use the Run/Walk Method to conquer their race distance. 

In fact, it is surprising how many of these runners actually finish faster and feel better than if they had simply run the entire race without taking any walk breaks! 

In a study that Galloway did on veteran runners, he found that you can finish a marathon, on average, 13 minutes faster if you take walk breaks than if you were to run the entire distance.


Using the Run/Walk Method during a marathon:

If you are wanting to use the Run/Walk Method during a marathon race, Jeff Galloway suggests doing the method until you reach mile 18.

After mile 18, you can reduce the number of walking breaks that you take or not do anymore at all. Take into consideration how you are feeling at this point.


Using the Run/Walk Method during a half marathon:

If you are planning on using the Run/Walk Method during a half marathon race, Galloway recommends using the method until mile 9 and then again, reducing or eliminating the walk breaks depending on how your race is going. 


However, even if you don’t want to use run walking during your race, it can still hold a place in your training routine. 

Remember, it’s a great tool in helping to reduce your risk of injury and when you are running higher mileage weeks than normal, your body does need to take breaks! 


Here are ways you could consider adding run walking to your marathon or half marathon training:

Here are ways you could consider adding run walking to your marathon or half marathon training: 


Implement during your recovery runs.

You want to keep your recovery runs very slow as it is, at least several minutes slower than your goal pace.

Therefore, this would be a great opportunity to implement a run/walk strategy.


Use it when you are running up or down hills.

Hills are a source of injury for many runners (especially downhill running!) and also can wreak havoc on your running paces!

Consider walking up and/or down all the hills that you encounter.

You might notice you can crush them much faster when you walk them! 


Take a walking break at every aid station or each time that you need to take in an energy drink, gel, or other supplements. 


Take scheduled walk breaks during your long distance training runs.

This is my favorite way to incorporate run walking!

I like to take a walk break with some dynamic and static stretches thrown in after about every 5 miles of the long run.

It helps to keep me loose and feeling good while also giving myself a mental booster!


How to Begin Run-walking if you are new to running

1. Set a goal for yourself.

Ask yourself why you want to begin run-walking. 

  • Is it to be able to eventually run for a certain amount of time? 
  • Do you want to train for a specific race distance and focus on reducing injury? 
  • Do you want to simply increase your fitness level?
  • Are you looking to get into shape or lose weight?


2. Decide on a good run-walk ratio for yourself.

Look back at the previous ratio charts and calculator to determine a good run-walk pace for yourself. Keep in mind though that it’s good to play around with your run.


3. Pick a training plan - even if it’s not specifically designed for run walking! 

What training plan you pick will of course will be dependent on why you want to begin run-walking so be clear with Step #1 first.

 I actually currently have 2 plans designed specifically for run-walking:

However, even if the plan is not specifically designed for a run/walk method, you can implement your own run walk intervals into the plan. 

For example, if you have a training plan that asks you to run 4 miles, feel free to include your run-walk interval ratios into that 4 mile run.

Therefore, instead of running all 4 miles you run your ideal run/walk ratios until you reach the 4 mile mark. 


5. Get started with your training plan!

Don’t forget to include a dynamic warm-up session before you begin any run and cool down and stretch when you finish! 


In Conclusion:

I think the power of the Run-Walk Method is something that is overlooked! 

There is a definite place for it in the running world and one that could be a game changer for many runners! 

If you are even slightly interested in this, I say go for it! Give it a try even on your next long run or even the next time yo are struggling during a run! 

It could just be the thing that your running needs!


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Resources Used:

Galloway, Jeff. “The Galloway Run-Walk-Run Method.” Jeff Galloway, jeffgalloway.com/pdf/walkbreaks.pdf.

Luff, Christine. “Your 8-Step Guide to the Run-Walk Method.” Verywell Fit, Verywell Fit, 9 Mar. 2020, www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-the-runwalk-method-2911203.

“Run Walk Run.” Jeff Galloway, www.jeffgalloway.com/training/run-walk/.

Solan, Matthew. “Walk Breaks for Faster Running.” Runner's World, Runner's World, 11 June 2019, www.runnersworld.com/training/a20818428/walk-breaks-for-faster-running/.