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I was wondering if taking small walk breaks during my run (say 1-2 minutes long) is going to hinder my progress (getting more fit and firm)? If it's cool to do that, how often can I take these breaks? I'm not training for speed or anything, just wanting to get into good shape and maintain it. Do the long-distance runners who run 5+ miles a day take walk breaks every so often? If so, when?

Thanks.

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There are two schools of thought on this.

Here's mine: Walk if you need to. If you can make it without, then don't walk.

When you are first starting out running using something like a Couch to 5k program there are scheduled walk breaks to get you used to running the distance but the goal is to get you running without walking. The longer you go the more likely you may have to take a walk break. It depends on your goals.

There is a training program for a marathon that schedules walk breaks after a certain amount of time running. Others will advise you to walk at water stops (which I did for my marathon and also for a half marathon).

When you get into good enough shape, you shouldn't need to walk for distances under 10 miles but I'm all for stopping at water fountains.

But as I said, if you need to stop and walk because you are struggling too much, then stop and walk.
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When you're starting from ground zero, most everyone does. It shouldn't take but a few weeks and you'll have the endurance to complete a run in full stride. To answer your question, "Do the long-distance runners who run 5+ miles a day take walk breaks every so often?", not much. Like Pug says, maybe a walk to a water fountain, a walk to slow down and re-tie a shoelace, a walk to slow down and read the trail map to see the "you are here" dot, but really, on average, it does not take the human body but probably a couple months to fully be ready for 5-mile runs all at running pace.

Much of gaining a desired level of fitness is becoming accustomed to it. If 5-milers without walking is your goal, then once you become fit enough to do that, the more times you do, the easier and easier it is going to become. Your body becomes tuned to it. One thing I've done for 25-years of running now is basically depriving myself on runs less than an hour. I don't drink, eat, stretch, walk or anything but just run. And in the course of all these years, I'm absolutely accustomed to it. If you desire to have a drink during your run and want to carry a bottle, then go ahead, but realize, that's how you'll 'need' to run because you'll become accustomed to it. I believe this holds true for walk breaks, power gels, or whatever the variable might be that you add to your routine. Of course, being a 'minimalist' of life in general, I prefer keeping running as simple as I can. You can choose your own. G'luck

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I just finsihed my 4 mile run without stopping at a 6.5mph pace. I think I could go another mile, but I never have before. Like you said the 4 miles is what I'm accustom to. I'm going to slowly keep upping the milage. The reason I was wondering if it's okay to walk is because some days are just tough and it feels like I need to take a few walk breaks to complete my run.
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In my personal experience you will get more in shape by running 3 miles at a 7 minute/mile pace than 6 miles at a 8 mile/minute pace. Though I did make myself run 6 miles (around a lake so I could not take any shortcuts ) to get my endurace up when I started running again last year.
However, I usually eat as much as I can (I am eating a 1.75 quart of Breyers chocolate ice cream right now for dinner). So for me to lose weight, my metabolism must change. For this reason the rate (or pace) I run is the deciding factor as to how much in shape I get. Its also time effective as running 3 miles at 7 minutes a mile (total 21 minutes) is a lot less work out time a week than running 6 miles at 8 minutes a mile (total 48 minutes).
I'm glad you mentioned something like this as I have never heard anyone talk about rate or pace you run alters your metabolism. I must spend at least $50 a week less on food this year than last year.
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Totally unsolicited advice here, but metabolism isn't the biggest concern when losing weight if you're talking about 1.75 quarts that contains 1900-calories, 120-grams of fat; 72-grams of that being saturated adding 900-mg of cholesterol and 168-grams of sugar... your fuel there is counter acting and probably negating any kind of weight loss effect your running has. I'd urge you to take the time and study up a bit, cholesterol, saturated fat and sugar are some of the worst fuel for endurance training and in terms of weight loss, ain't gonna do it. :twocents:
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Ditto taking breaks only if you need them. See what happens first, and listen to your body.

(Mine sez: "Forget that walking c**p - we're here to RUN!" )
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For beginner runners, I would absolutely suggest stopping when needed during instances of:

a) bad air quality affecting your breathing
b) bathroom breaks
c) some feeling of tightness in hamstrings or quadriceps
d) extreme heat

It's very easy for a beginner to get turned off from running to the nagging factors mentioned above. If you do need to "stop", stop doing a very brisk walk with some stretching intermittently.
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There are days when the same run is tougher than other days. I generally will just slow down to a jog rather than go all the way to a full walk. Sometimes that's when sometime the run is more mental than physical.
Sometimes I just tell myself to keep going, and I can get the run in without walking.
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Hi, I am a new runner and I stop and walk because I need to. I have noticed that every day I need to walk a little less.
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That's great, and probably means you're progressing nicely - keep it up.
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d) extreme heat
...even for NON beginers (despite what I wrote above!)
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I agree with all the replys, except I do feel sometimes in this Texas heat that I have to stop and walk with short walk breaks I have asthma and sometime with the humidity I just can't breath.

But I make sure it is for that reason and not just wanting to stop. It has to be a need not a want..

You Go!!!

Run Well, Run Strong.... :wavey:
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