This question is widely debated. I’m not an expert, but I do have an answer to the question.
Do real runners take walk breaks? YES.
I understand feeling like you’re cheating in some way if you walk. I fall into this trap ALL THE TIME. Seriously. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told my husband that I was disappointed in a training run or a race because I had to stop and walk at some point.
But you know what? That’s ridiculous. Truly. Did you run more than you walked? Then you’re a real runner. I know lots of runners that take walk breaks, and I haven’t ever considered them as anything other than runners. So why didn’t I have the same viewpoint when it was myself that was taking the walk break?
I’m not sure, but I got over it eventually.
The thing is that I have to stop and walk all the time, particularly in races, because I can’t run and drink water at the same time. I’ve tried, and it’s a disaster. That means that if nothing else, I’m going to walk when I need to stop at an aid station.
And when I ran my first marathon, you can bet that I took some walk breaks! In fact, I’m convinced that these 60 second walk breaks (which I did after every 10 minutes of running), saved my legs and helped me keep a consistent pace over the entire 26.2 miles.
Now that I’ve been running consistently for over a year, I don’t take structured walk breaks for distances other than the marathon. But you can bet that I still walk through aid stations when I need some water or electrolyte drink, because choking doesn’t sound like fun.
If you’re reading this, and you take walk breaks.. YOU ARE A RUNNER!
Shake off those haters, get out there, and run.