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How do you transition from Walking to Running without Injury?

The Question: What is the best way to transition from walking to running without getting injured?

— Beginner Sherrell Savage

From Coach Karen:

We hear this question all of the time because people feel that to “be” a runner… you must “run” the entire time. NOT SO… if you run…. YOU ARE A RUNNER. That being said, for many years I struggled with running continuously and never really felt comfortable doing mileage until I found interval training JEFF GALLOWAY style. It changed my life and my training.

Gong from walking to running is a relatively easy transition. I always tell my walkers to start by walking briskly for about 10 minutes to warm up. Then use a timer (I like the Gym Boss – $20) and set it for two 15 second intervals. Jog easily for 15 seconds and then when the beeper goes off, walk for 15 seconds. Continue on with the 15:15 interval for as long as you feel comfortable. It can be a mile, 2 miles or just to the end of the block. Start slowly and do it consistently. Most people find that they can go twice as long in distance using this interval.

Once one gets comfortable using the 15:15 … go ahead and see if you can graduate to doing 30 seconds of jogging with 30 seconds of walking. You will find that your speed does not get slower, but that you are actually getting faster and feeling GREAT.

Transitioning to a run/walk/run really helps your speed, endurance, stamina and can help you run “injury free.” In races you may even find yourself passing lots of runners who started out too fast, burned out, and can’t keep up with your consistent run/walk pace.

As an aside… my husband who is quite a good runner, could never quite break through to get to a Boston Qualifier. After working with Jeff Galloway, he qualified for Boston running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. Now… with the changes in the program… That would translate to running 90 seconds and walking 30 seconds! He was amazed and was able to kick it in at the end. That was over 10 years and he is still running and walking and coaching at 71 years old!

Practice makes perfect…. And so does consistency. Finding a group of “like” run/walkers will really help you stay accountable and have fun while training. There are many Galloway Training Programs throughout the country. You can find plenty of training programs in your area and also to find out more about Jeff Galloway Run/Walk Training.

About Karen B. Levin
Karen is the co-owner of Fleet Feet Baltimore with her husband and two awesome Weimariners for the last 16 years. My husband and I get our greatest reward from helping runners run their 5k/half marathon/marathons or just getting off the couch and getting healthy. Working as a newsletter writer/web site specialist, and apparel buyer, Karen has completed 30 marathons, innumerable races including Boston (2006, 2008) and Big Sur (2014) and is the Baltimore Program Director/Head Coach of the Jeff Galloway Marathon/Half Marathon Training Program. A former teacher, coach, and school administrator, Karen is proud of her accomplishments in bra fit, apparel buying, and prevention of injury stretches! A Peloton bike and Tread enthusiast, Karen is also a proud Captain in the Skirt Sports Ambassador Program.