Run Walk in IM marathon

Been thinking about the IM run, and in all honesty I dont expect to run the whole way, so it seems to make sense not to pretend in trainigng that I will, and that I should train to run-walk, which is a more realistic strategy. I'd lie to do somewhere round 4.30 max for the mara, but know I wont if the wheels come off and I end up having to walk for long periods.

But I'm curious as to what others do. I'm sure the quickies will run the whole way, but for those of us at the completer ratther than competer end of the equation, how many honestly think they will run the whole way, and if not, how many are training for a run walk strategy?

And for those that ARE planning a run walk, how do you train for it? Just on the long runs? What intervals are you planning and how did you come to decide them?

All thoughts / insight / comments that I should HTFU and train better so I can run the whole way much appreciated!  image



  • I consider myself a competer, I don't run the whole way, I use the aid stations to guage my run/walk and make sure I don't waste any time. Get in, get food, get out. Personally I don't use this method in training but I can see the benefit on longer runs mainly for recovery and getting used to the feeling of getting going again.

    Over the years I tried to see how far I could run the whole thing before walking and managed 30km a couple of times but if you use the aid stations at speed you are at risk of not actually taking in the nutrition, give your body a few extra secs to slow down and as a completer you will find it more beneficial, my only gripe is that the aid station is not a place to catch up with old friends, don't waste time, 8 min miling can turn into 10 min miling with aid stations so close to each other nowadays.
  • I would imagine that very few actually run the whole way, most at least walk through the feed stations later on as Rosey says. Planning on a walk-run strategy from the start is a sensible option and probably better than trying to run it all and crashing & burning out on the course. How to train for it though, I'll have to leave to others image
  • last year i trained running 10 minutes walking one....on the day it was more like run 1 minute walk 10...and i never got to the end.
    this year my run training is going to be just that...running...cause at the end of the bike you dont know how much you'll be able to run.
    my plan is to try and get between aid stations...and this then end!!!
  • Same as Rosie I have managed to run all mine with as Rosie with the exception of the aid stations which I walk as the drinks are usually in open cups, I make sure I take it relatively easy on the bike as any time made pushing the bike you will lose herds walking most of the run course
  • lst year i was so ill with stomic craps etc i walked the wole run (and visited lots of portaloos) and still got round, although it was in about 14:50

    This year i am hoping for a much better experince image

  • I expected to have to walk lots but in the end just walked through the aid stations. I planned and trained  to run/walk but didn't need to. Not really helpful advice! I think the probelm is that you just don't know how your body will be until the day, so maybe keeping all options open is best approach ?
  • Same here... I ran between aid stations and walked through them to make sure I picked up the fuel I needed.  It can be hard to kick yourself back into a run after a short walk so do it in training.  For example, try a long run where you run for 8 minutes, walk for 1 minute and repeat for several hours.

  • would like to do similar to you Ali (running around 4.30-4.45) and am planning on a run/walk.

    Generally anything over 30 mins I am training by doing run 9 mins and walk 1 min.  Overall am managing just over 10min miles on average for long runs this way so think that may tie in approx with walking aid stations on the day if they are every mile.

    Of course its all conjecture at this point as this is my first IM so may well go tits up on the day but figured if I am planning on run/walk then there is no point doing long runs without walking at all so better off refuelling/drinking as I walk.

  • Sorry if this has been asked before, but how do you guys decide IM marathon goal times based on previous stand alone marathons. I know there are myriad factors, but how does an IM mara generally compare timewise to a stand alone one?

    I'm sure I could have phrased that more succinctly.

  • My IM Mara vs standalone Mara is anything up to a factor of just over twice as slow. My best IM Mara is probably something like 1.5 x my standalone.  I've not cracked racing the IM properly yet.

  • Morning, Good subject this Ali, was wondering what would be best myself.

    I'm worried about how I was going to feel coming off the bike, my LBR bike sessions last year left me feeling pretty tired so I asked for fuel advice and since then it's not been such a bad feeling.

    Personally I feel that I need to ensure I'm capable of long running, even if on the day it's not happening. 

  • Thanks, Cougie. Looks like it could be a long day.
  • My IM marathon was about 30 minutes longer than my marathon PB (4:25 and 3:57).  But that came from a year of solid long distance running and a 50 mile ultra in the winter before IM.  The key thing that amount of running taught me was how to keep going when everything is telling you to stop.  When you start the run your legs will already hurt and the temptation to just walk to the first aid station will be great.  If you can get running straight away and get into a good run/walk strategy you'll be zooming past people all the way round, and that's a great feeling.
  • The best piece of advice I got from this forum was to fit in at least one proper long brick session - ride for around 4 hours, then run for 60-90 mins at planned IM pace.  I guess that would apply to run-walking as well, doing it on fresh legs won't really tell you if it's the right strategy for you when you've got to do the swim & bike first.

  • Good post, M.ister W, I have a 3.30ish marathon time, but have done lots of slow steady never-stop-type runs since, so i think I would aim to do as you say, and just try to convince my legs to remember what they do every week.
  • Some people manage to get their IM mara time very close to their standalone. Thats impressive.
  • cougie wrote (see)
    Some people manage to get their IM mara time very close to their standalone. Thats impressive.
    mine was 20 minutes quicker than my one and only marathon image
  • Nutter !

  •  last year I run / walked the IM maras - did a 4:04 then a 3:53.
    I kept going because of the run walk.  
    It breaks the whole thing down into mangeable chunks. 
    I also found the recovery allows my HR to drop back, so it stops it / slows its inevitable creep upwards....
    finally I felt I was able to keep drinking / eating consistently as you end up with a strategy taht you just repeat without thinking about it.....
    finally finally I don't have a run background, so was stepping into the unknown as the above are my only marathons.  Having a set plan seemed to work there......

    I had the idea that if walking from the start allowed me to carry on running another 30 mins, then I would be ahead.

    I got the idea from gordos tips - he seemed to say lots of sensible stuff, and this also sounded ideal for the IM I tried it and it worked for me...

    I did all my long training runs (anything over an hour) using this, 10 min run 1 min walk, and I practiced eating and drinking during those as well.....  I used a camel back in training (with sports drink in it), and had a banana, gel , cake etc every 30 mins.  I was drinking about half a litre per hour....

    I was so happy with the pattern that I ended up using my camel back in the events as well.... I loved being able to walk and drink / eat where I wanted to.....
    However I was the only one using a camel back in any of the events..........

    This year I am aiming for 3:45 and will still train as above.  The plan for the IM is to run between the aid stations, grab fluid, then walk the minute, (or maybe 45 secs).... saves carrying so much........

    phew brain download complete!image

  • Cheers guys, and gals, interesting stuff. Made me chuckle that the Admiral(and Kona qualifier)  and a 2.35 marathon runner were the first two to reply to a thread about run walking! image

    I think for the base phase I am going to just run my LSRs, but as I get to build and peak then I will run walk more. I like the idea for doing one or two 'proper' bricks as opposed to quick 'transition' runs, but I'm not sure I want to do many of them, they sound a bit of a beast of a session. But a confidence boost and as good as any way of finding out how you might likely react on the day I guess?

    I think I heard on one of the IM podcasts not so long ago that if you are going to do run walk, you should start off with 5 minutes walking out of T2? I might have to go back and check that. An ego crusher at the time I suspect but if it means to reel them in later on then I could live with it. Might also help with the jelly legs feeling of running straight away?

    Anyone know off-hand how often the aid stations are at IMR on the run?

  • probably every 1km or 1mile, worth checking.

    And I know I am slightly different but my mara pb is slower than my IM mara pb, go figure, I never trained for a marathon standalone so the two I did have been part of training, although Dublin was a bit of a party weekend.

    As for the first 5 mins, the transitions are so long nowadays I would dismount, speed walk the part to rack, get changed, speed walk to the exit and then set off, taking on nutrition the whole time, gel as you exit, go go go .
  • What Rosey says image  Get running as soon as you get out of T2.  It's a pyschological boost to start the run looking good and helps sort out the jelly legs feeling. 
  • Gladys, I thought the lovely thing about the mara at Roth  was not having a time or pace to aim for. I just the best I could at any given moment. It was almost liberating, just tuning in to my body, and just moving forwards, not worrying about pace. I walked through the aid stations and was so keen to be one of the people coming back the other way, it wasn't hard to get going again because every step run got me closer to the finish. Did do a couple of run walk training runs, but not many.  My IM mara was 54 mins slower than my PB and was the biggest surprise of the day!

    Like Rosey suggests, I didn't exactly hare through T2.

  • I did do the walk a few mins out of T2 before starting running thing - for me I wanted to make sure that I came out of T2 with a settled stomach and relaxed neck and back (in training I had cramps in my neck from the bike position, and wanted to make sure that I was comfortable on the run). So I planned to walk for a few minutes, taking on some fluids and a gel and then started my run/walk.

    I would say it's worth practicing run/walk on at least one long run. Lots of people say they have trouble getting running again, but I've never experienced this - if you've done it in training it is easier to be strict with yourself when it's time to start running again, no questions or excuses.

    The best confidence builder was doing a 40 minute run/walk after a couple of nice long sportives.

    I hate looking at my watch working out when to run and walk, so in training I set my Garmin to beep every mile, and then walked 100 paces (more or less a minute), and then started running again. In a well stocked IM, this pretty much equates timewise to walking the aid stations. Also, don't walk, march - you'll stretch your stride out a bit and feel much better, and not lose much time.

    And then on the day I realised I might go under a particular time, so abandone the last five walk bits, doing a 13 min negative split, and feeling nice an confy all the way through. (Not speedy mind, 5.04 as opposed to standalone mara 4.34).

  • Hmmm - Ditchy, I like the idea of doing run/walk after a long bike ride. MAkes it seem much less daunting. Top idea.
  • I have been banging on about R/W for donkeys years and all of a sudden every fecker's doing it    image

    Counting is the best way to get through the run IMO
  • image actually thinking about it all my standalone maras have been run/walk too, but that's cos of injuries preventing adequate training, so a bit different.
  • Meldy - I've been banging on about r/w in my club for years and no fecker listens to me!

    Gladys, definitely train to run/walk on your LSR's if you intend to run/walk the IM marathon. Training for an IM marathon is not like training for a standalone mara, the only similarity is that you have to condition yourself for what you intend to do.

    I've run/walked all my IM marathons and (in the last two at least) have finished quite strongly running the last couple of hours - as Ditchy has evidently found also, though I could have probably gone a bit faster if I'd started running- only sooner. However, finishing is the important bit to me and having a good time. Personally, thrashing myself and ending up with a drip has never appealed to me and I'd rather be relaxing with beer afterwards!

    When I'm training for a standalone, I've often done my early long runs at 12/14 weeks out with a run/walk to get the extra time on legs and lessen the chance of injury later (and closer to the event) - there are top coaches who recognise this as good conditioning since it doesn't put so much strain on the joints etc.

  • Suffolk Punch wrote (see)

     thrashing myself and ending up with a drip has never appealed to me

    and at IMCH there was also the point that they were charging 70 euros for the drips, so I couldn't have afforded one anyway! image
  • Interesting thread.

     I definitely won't be running all of the IMR marathon so I intend to run/walk (maybe 10:1?) so think I will give it a go once my 'long' runs in the plan hit about 1:45 or 2 hours.

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