Can we get faster by going slower? Occam’s razor and I say no.
Occam’s razor is the philosophic principle that suggests the best answer to any dilemma is always the simplest. That is, it seems pretty logical that you don’t run faster by, say, slowing to a walk. This hasn’t stopped people like Jeff Galloway from building a huge following by encouraging people to run-walk their way to fitness.
And I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that if all you want from running is to be fit.
But if you want to be fit and fast, which is a whole other thing altogether, you cannot allow yourself to become an intermittent walker. You must flee the whole business of walk-run workouts like Officer Rick and his comrades flee the dreaded “Walkers” on the AMC television show The Walking Dead.
Here’s the problem: Periodic walking does, in fact, allow us to “run” longer, if “running” means just a sustained period of forward motion on our feet. And if the alternative to this is returning to your ergonomic office chair faster, have at it – run/walk all day. But don’t believe this is ever going to make you faster.
There are two things that make us faster. The first is running faster. (Occam’s razor, again.)
The physics of running fast aren’t the same as the physics of running slowly, and we have to teach our bodies to move that way. I repeat: The only way to learn to run faster is to run faster.
The other thing is this: Running with walking breaks increases our aerobic fitness, but does nothing to build the mental toughness that we cannot develop when going slow. Walking, in fact, erodes our inner steeliness since we tend to take walking breaks when we get uncomfortable. In the language of 12-step programs, walking is an enabler, a comforting deceiver that whispers we’re getting better when actually we’re not.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal announced “It’s Time for Women to Run Faster,” and on that, all Salties agree. We can’t do it by taking walking breaks. I’ve taken far too many this year, and one of my New Year running resolutions is going to be to stop.
SALTIES, do you take walking breaks? Do you feel ashamed, like Mace, when you when you need to stop and walk?