Blathering about walking, pace, effort, and the Mongolfier Brothers
When to walk…, I suppose the first, or primary, decision factor would be the course. There are courses where you hit the first walking point within a quarter-mile of the start because of hills. There are courses where your first walking point will be determined by the watch (or distance) as decided by you in some secret prerace strategy meeting with your inner self–flattish courses or track runs.
I knew one fellow who walked the first 30 minutes of an 8-hour track run and still covered 50 miles by finishing time.
Running versus racing might determine tactics as you go. What are the day’s intentions?
So, what to do… I practice walking uphill stretches, working on form. I sometimes will go out with “run no ups today” in mind.
It is nice to have some places (flat, rolly, hilly–we have all three) with known distances where I could see how fast (or slow 😐 ) I was walking–we were always using 15 minute pace as a guide. Trying to get below it on flat stretches and hoping to not fall too far below the dreaded 18 on the ups (18 times 100 is 1800, 1800 divided by 60 is 30 … that is 30 hours and a cause for a certain amount of anxiety in some runs.)
I’m not giving you much of an answer, but there isn’t a well defined one. The body will feel better some days. The mind will be more cooperative some days. The course may determine it. The course may allow you to determine it.
Walk early so you can run later. Don’t overdo the walking.
You need to practice (train) for walking just as much as you do for the rest of the stuff.
I don’t know anything about heart rate methods. I have never used one. If I am running and notice some people are walking as fast as I am running… time to switch to walking. It isn’t a pace thing. It is an effort awareness need. You need to run enough to know what effort you can hold for how long–that could trigger the run>walk switch.
Find a course with a little variety in it. Practice running, practice the run/shuffle/walk [run the downs, shuffle the flats, walk the ups]–see what the time differential turns out to be. You slowly become comfortable with what you are doing to get yourself able to cover longer distances.
Practice the transition–
run>walk — don’t suddenly slam on the brakes. Take a few steps to change. The sudden decrease in effort is enough to cause warm muscles to cramp.
walk>run — don’t resume running too aggressively or you might suddenly grab a calf you just strained.
Sorry for the rambling, incoherency, and whatever errors you might find. I deleted a page or two from something much longer.
———-Run gently out there———-