Today I'd like to talk about something that has been on my mind for some time now: walking while out on a run or during a race.
When I first started running I couldn't even imagine running a whole mile without a walk break. Once I finally pushed myself (thanks to my husband) to run an entire mile without walking, I felt like I had finally become a runner. As time went on I pushed myself and was able to run 5 miles without stopping. I had this weird way of thinking that if I stopped and walked, I couldn't say I ran such & such miles. I had to say I ran 2 miles, walked a quarter mile then ran the rest. Why did I think this way? I'm not exactly sure, but I felt this way up until recently.
Training for my first half has been tough! I'm not going to lie. With a year full of running related injuries caused by my stubbornness, it's been difficult getting my miles back up. Thankfully I'm going about it a lot smarter this time with a personal trainer helping me to strength train and me spending time foam rolling through out the week and most importantly, listening to my body! I have finally broken the 5 mile point and ran 6 miles on Monday! I went in not sure if I'd even do 3 miles but at about 4 miles I decided to take a break and walk for about a quarter of a mile and see how I felt afterwards.
That walk break changed the way I view walking while out on a run or during a race. Giving my body a small break helped give me a boost to finish 6 miles. I didn't stop moving, I didn't go home then run 2 miles later in the day. I ran 6 miles with a quarter mile walk break that didn't hurt my training one bit. It actually helped!
I want to be able to run 13.1 miles nonstop, and I know I am capable, but if I have to walk at some point to retain some energy in order to finish strong, I'll do so without feeling like a failure or "not a runner".
So what makes me a runner?
*The moment I decided to lace up my shoes and head out the door*
*The drive I have inside of me to finish what I started*
*The desire to push myself beyond my limits*
*The wisdom to listen to my body and allow it rest when needed in order to press on*
*The LOVE of the sport*
Side note: I never saw other runners as "non runners" if they chose to do walk/run intervals or have to walk while out running. This was just a weird way of thinking I had set up in my own mind for myself. What matters is that you keep moving forward. :-)