Maximizing Your Running Potential with Run/Walk Intervals

In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of run/walk intervals and offer some valuable tips to get you started. Are you a runner looking for an effective and safe way to build your fitness and tissue capacity? Maybe you’re a newbie to running, an injured runner, or simply want to add some extra “time on feet” to your training regimen. Read on for how to incorporate run/walk intervals into your routine.

The Benefits of Run/Walk Intervals

New Runners

If you’re new to running, the idea of non-stop jogging can be intimidating. Run/walk intervals provide a gradual and manageable way to build your fitness level. It allows your body to adapt to the physical demands of running while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries. This method is especially helpful if you’re transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to one that includes running. The structured approach of alternating between running and walking can make the journey less daunting.

Injured Runners

For those recovering from injuries, maintaining fitness and building tissue capacity is essential. Run/walk intervals offer a structured approach to increase your “time on feet” without putting excessive stress on your body. Injured runners often worry about losing their hard-earned progress. By incorporating run/walk intervals, you can bridge the gap between inactivity and your previous running routine. It’s crucial, however, to work with a rehabilitation professional who can help tailor the program to your specific needs. They can provide expert guidance and ensure that you’re progressing at a safe and appropriate pace during your recovery journey.

Healthy Runners

Even seasoned runners can benefit from run/walk intervals. After a demanding long run or a grueling speed workout, your body may need a break. Running at an easy intensity during walk intervals can aid recovery and reduce the risk of overtraining. Furthermore, it’s an excellent strategy to include in your training plan when you’re looking to increase your overall training volume without pushing your body to its limits. By incorporating run/walk intervals into your weekly routine, you can enhance your endurance and build a more resilient cardiovascular system.

Fitness walking
Fitness walking

Using Technology for Intervals

Timing your run/walk intervals is crucial to reaping the benefits of this training method. While a simple stopwatch can do the job, there are numerous apps available to make the process more convenient. One such app is “Interval Timer” from the Google Play store, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. These apps allow you to set custom intervals and receive audio or visual cues, eliminating the need to constantly check your watch. Using technology to manage your intervals can help you stay consistent and focused on your training, ensuring that you’re making the most out of each session.


Important Tips for Successful Run/Walk Intervals

Start with a Warm-Up

Always begin with a 10-minute fitness walk before transitioning to your first running interval. Warming up helps prepare your muscles and joints for the running ahead, reducing the risk of injury. It’s a critical step that shouldn’t be skipped, as it primes your body for the physical demands of running. Your warm-up walk should be purposeful and gradually increase in intensity, getting your heart rate and blood flow up.

Maintain Brisk Walks

During your fitness walks, keep up a brisk pace. Engage your arms as if you were running, ensuring that you maintain an active and efficient stride. While it might be tempting to take these walking segments lightly, treating them as an essential part of your training can provide better results. Focus on maintaining a strong walking form and engaging your core and upper body for added benefits.

Keep Running Intervals Easy

Your running intervals should be at a 3-4 out of 10 difficulty level for most people. Avoid pushing yourself too hard during these segments, as the goal is to gradually build your running endurance. It’s crucial to remember that the purpose of run/walk intervals is to build a strong aerobic foundation and enhance your running capacity over time. Running too fast during your intervals can lead to fatigue and reduced effectiveness.

Cool Down

Conclude your run/walk session with a 5-minute fitness walk cooldown. This allows your body to gradually transition back to a resting state and reduces the risk of post-workout muscle soreness. The cooldown is often an overlooked component of training, but it plays a crucial role in the recovery process. It helps your body remove waste products, such as lactic acid, and prevents blood from pooling in your lower extremities.


In conclusion, run/walk intervals are a versatile and effective training method for runners of all levels. Whether you’re a novice, an injured runner, or simply looking for a way to enhance your running experience, incorporating run/walk intervals into your routine can provide numerous benefits. Just remember to start with a warm-up, maintain brisk walks, keep running intervals at an easy pace, and finish with a cooldown. With the right approach, you can safely improve your fitness and tissue capacity while enjoying your time on the road. So why not give run/walk intervals a try in your next training session and experience the positive impact they can have on your running journey?

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Dr. AJ Cohen

Up And Running Physical Therapy

"We Help Runners And Active Adults In The Fort Collins Area Overcome Injury And Be Stronger Than Ever, Avoid Unnecessary Time Off, All Without Medications, Injections, Or Surgery."