Walk/ run strategies - what works?

I'm doing a very hilly marathon and have been advised by several people that walk-running is the sensible option to avoid 'blowing up.'   I have never walk-run before but the terrain is so unremittingly steep that it does make sense.  However, since I've never walk-run as a strategy before, I have no idea how to divvy up the time - walk up the steepest hills and then run? Or work out a ratio and stick to it or just make it up as I go along?

In training I have included half to 3/4 of the entire vertical ascent in my long runs and will do the entire vertical ascent this weekend - and that's running, not walking.

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  • I think it would make more sense to walk up the steepest bits and run the rest rather than sticking to (for example) a 10 mins run, 1 min walk ratio, which would most likely see you having to run up some horrible steep bits then walk on the flat, which wouldn't really be the best use of your energy.

    But that's just my opinion, based on how ultra runners all seem to tackle hilly off-road events. What's the marathon, out of interest?

  • run w dogs, it's beachy head.!  thanks for your advice!


  • Beachy Head?

    Run 20 miles, crawl for 6


  • I agree with RWD. Definitely run the flats and downhills! Walking up hills is no crime, but try and be clever when choosing your walks. I.E. don't start walking the minute you see an incline, but likewise don't run so far up a hill you get exhausted before you stop to walk, as that way you're less likely to get going again after getting to the top.

  • WiBWiB ✭✭✭

    Beachy Head? Just run it all and avoid the problem of walking all together image

  • Thanks everyone.  MM will look that up!

  • Run Quest, you'll only need to walk up the seven sisters, and maybe down them depending on how you cope with steep downs. You may want to walk up the steps, again depends on how you like running up steps. They are uneven and it's not always possible to run up the side, very crowded with spectators and walkers and sometimes cyclists. The only other hill that gets walked up is the one after the feed station out of Littlington. It's not so much that it's steep it's just that you will have to stop at the bottom to get into the field and it's hard to start running again up the hill, it's only 100yds though then it eases out - not so steep.

  • M...eldy wrote (see)

    Beachy Head?

    Run 20 miles, crawl for 6


    That's about the sum of it.

  • T Mouse, thanks for the detailed advice - that's a great help.  I also hear there's a kind of ravine that is short but very flinty and steep.  Where is that? Does that ring any bells?

    I've been doing up to 1,750 metres of ascent in my long runs so hopefully I'll be comfortable on most hills if I do need / want to run them!


  • Quest - could be a couple of places. There are 2 downhills that fit that description. The first as you come down into Jevington from the top of the Downs after the golf course, (about mile 4) the second as you come down from The Long Man (pity you won't see him), (about mile 7.5) that can be nasty if it's wet, can also be very exposed there. The downhill is chalk and flint. Both are runable at pace, well I've never had any problems with them. Just watch where you put your feet.

    Comming out of Alfriston there's approx 3 miles of climb to Bo-Peep - rutted chalk track, runable again. (0-620ft (191m)).

    Didn't know if you meant steep up or steep down.

  • Oh, when you get to the top of the steps it's an amazing view.

  • Thanks, T Mouse.  I meant steep down, and I was told chalk and flint,  so it sounds like the descent from the Long Man.  Good to know what lies ahead.  A guy at my club said people run this at a suicidal pace given how slippery and steep it can be!

    Hey, are ordinary trail shoes up to this race or do you recommend something quite technical as there's grass over chalk, bare chalk and flint, possibly all wet?

  • Million dollar question Quest and I don't think anyone has ever come up with a difinitive answer.

    I like my NB101's best for running over the Downs but anything like inov8's are good - mine slip a bit to much on wet chalk to be my first choice.

    It's always going to be a compromise.

    Where are you based, where do you usually run?

  • T. Mouse, most of my long runs are round Epping Forest (soft trails in winter, hard trail in summer) and Hampstead Heath (tarmac plus soft trails in winter). 

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