60-second-clock

When you first start running being able to run without stopping to walk is a significant goal, and even when you have been running for a while you still find yourself walking in races sometimes and on long training sessions |(and that is OK) but sometimes you don’t even know why? And worse still is you can beat yourself up about it and think because you walk bits of your run somehow you are not a proper runner.

Last year I wrote a provocative blog post called 10 Reasons why Fat Runners Walk which looked at the range of psychological and physical reasons there are to walk because so often we beat ourselves up about not being able to run consistently.

Lots of ladies told me this article made a whole heap of sense to them, and took the pressure off somehow, and for lots of non fat runners it made them think that perhaps sometimes they just make assumptions.

When I first started running (you know all those years ago) and also when I returned to it after having my daughter I struggled to even run for 30 seconds and although I slowly but surely built up my fitness and endurance I still had tendencies to walk whenever it suited me, and even during races when I should have been able to run the whole way.

Then something changed.

I was visiting a friend of mine in Portugal. I met Mary in about 2006 at a boot camp, this was right at the start of my fitness journey and we had shared 7 days in Devon shedding pounds and living off herbal tea…and that kind of thing seems to bond women together. We stayed in touch mainly via Facebook, and I had been giving her advice about running whenever I could.

When she said she was doing the Lisbon Half Marathon, I was like “I fancy a bit of that” and she was like “great, you can stay with me” and that was that. It was to be my first ever international race experience and one I will never forget. We had a grand old-time (did I mention Mary is Irish?)

Anyhow, you can read about the race here.

But the night before the race as we ate dinner and talked about our lives and our love of running she told me about a technique she used where she would allow herself to walk whenever she absolutely needed to as long as she always started running again after 60 seconds.

I tried it in the race and it really helped.

It later became “THE 60 SECOND RULE” and one which I write about in most of my books.

This approach to walking really helps me to take the pressure off myself, it makes me question whether I REALLY need to stop in the first place, or if it would be better just to slow things down again, and most importantly it keeps my mind occupied during any 60 second period of walking so that I don’t go all “uuurggh I am so rubbish at this running lark” at myself. It’s difficult to let your mind go walkabouts when you are keeping an eye on your stop watch for a signal to start running again.

So for any of you run walkers out there who want to be more consistent with their walking breaks or for those of us who have long distance races coming up where you are already stressing about being able to run it all, try to deploy this strategy and see if it makes an overall difference to your running.

It is just 60 seconds ladies, just enough time to catch your breath and get yourself geared up to go again.

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