Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bob's your Uncle

Here is the silver medal I won this past weekend at the National Long Distance Triathlon Champs and in between all the writing is some pictures Kim took this morning during sunrise.

Not long ago I listened to a podcast where Bobby McGee http://www.bobbymcgee.com/ talked about the run/walk technique and how it can improve your running time. It basically says you must never run more than 10 minutes at a time and then have a brisk walk of 1 minute. He however explained that you can start your marathon by walking 30 seconds during the first hour, 45 seconds during the second hour and then walk 1 minute from the third hour but keep your running at 10 minutes maximum. Here's the link if you want to listen to that podcast http://www.imtalk.me/Podcast.html click on archive at the top and it is episode #170

The important thing is to walk at a fast pace and don't slow down completely. As he explained if you look at the upper body you shouldn't notice a difference between the run and the walk intervals, the upper body must keep it's running form.

Using this technique also helps you to break down the marathon in 10 minute intervals and you just focus on the next ten minutes. I must say this works as you don't have this huge number in your head where you know you must run 21 or 42 kilometers but only 10 minutes at a time.

Now there will be people that says it works for them and others will says it's not for them and them you will get a lot of people that are too scared to try it.

I decided I will give it a go and I must admit at first I was not too sure if it was the right thing to do but I was determined to give it a go and not give up as I will then never know if it works or not. During training I kept the walking intervals at 1 minute.

As time progressed my running pace was at the same level as when I ran non stop, my heart rate was lower and I wasn't that tired after my long runs meaning I could recover faster.

During Ironman70.3 in January I ran 10 minutes and walked 1 minute but after the race I realized that the 1 minute walking intervals was too long for a half marathon. I then decided to cut the walk intervals down to 30 seconds during my training.

During this past weekends Half Ironman I decided to use the technique again and see if there is an improvement. Well I had my fastest ever half marathon and my body felt good. According to the official results I did the run leg in 1h28:03 but according to my watch I finished in 1h26:57.

race results at http://www.spectrumsport.co.za/Prestige_Ultra_Triathlon_20100221.pdf

I think the transition times were included as the race results don't have a separate time for transition. Below is a breakdown of the 15 laps it took me to complete the run leg. During the last run interval I was just short of the finish line and decided to keep running until the end, that's why the last interval is not 10 minutes but 13:26 minutes.

If you are not into numbers or technical stuff you don't have to read further and can stop here, as all the numbers below is a little to much for some people.

O' and before I forget, wish me luck please. I spoke to a person today and he asked me to send him my sports resume as he might be interested in sponsoring me. I just met the person by chance but maybe I can have my first and only sponsor very soon:-)) Now I just need to compile a resume and make it look professional, not like my average work of art on the PC.

Lap/ Lap Time/ HR Avg/ Distance/ Cadence/ Stride Length
1) 10:00.0/ 154/ 2.417/ 93/ 119

2) 00:30.4/ 152/ 0.08/ 79/ 93

3) 09:58.9 / 156/ 2.556/ 93/ 127

4) 00:29.9/ 154/ 0.077 /78/ 96

5) 10:01.3/ 157/ 2.643/ 92/ 131

6) 00:30.4/ 158/ 0.076/ 75/ 93

7) 09:59.6/ 157/ 2.445/ 91/ 123

8) 00:29.3/ 151/ 0.077/ 80/ 93

9) 10:02.2/ 156/ 2.445/ 91/ 123

10) 00:29.7/ 153/ 0.073/ 74/ 94

11) 10:00.6/ 155/ 2.485/ 92/ 124

12) 00:29.5/ 156/ 0.074/ 77/ 88

13) 09:59.4/ 154/ 2.381/ 91/ 120

14) 00:29.6/ 151/ 0.07/ 75/ 86

15) 13:26.8/ 154/ 3.185/ 91/ 123

Tot 1h26:57/ 155/ 21.084/ 84.8/ 108.9


  1. Thank you for posting the method and theory along with your experience in detail. I look forward to listening to the podcast and trying the method out in my running. Thanks! - DR

  2. That's so interesting! Glad to hear you had a great race. When's the next one?

    ps - Bob's my dad.. haha (that's a very bad joke but he really IS my dad)

  3. what an awesome race! way to go! good luck on your sport resume! any type of sponsor helps out, you are certainly deserving of it with your results! thanks for the insight on the 10-1. may try it out and see how it works for me! Cheers

  4. J, those numbers and the result are mind blowing. Amazing.

  5. That's pretty cool. Thanks for sharing the HR figures - very informative. From my race times it seems they included T1 time to your bike time; T2 time to your run time. A 1.26 after a solid 90k's is impressive. Awesome result. I am thinking of incorporating the run-walk to my run time trials so your post is very helpful. Now if only I could use a bike-walk method for the cycle :o)

  6. J, how did you do the walk run. Did you walk and then run all out or was it a walk and run at a pace you normally hold?


  7. DRog
    Pleasure and let me know if it works for you

  8. She
    You had me there for a moment, haha. Thought you can hook me up with coach Bobby. Thanks had a good race.
    Next race is next weekend. It's between a Olympic distance and Half Ironman. 1.9km swim, 60km bike and 15km run.

    It's gonna be more of a training session, not going full out.

  9. John
    Thanks, I am really hoping I can come right with sponsor. Very expensive sport and not a popular sport to sponsor in SA.

    Let me know how you find run/walk experiment.

  10. Rob
    Glad you confirmed that as well. Now I am even more happy with transition included in run time.

    I hear you wish they can invent a swim/walk technique for me during swim leg, just suck at swimming.

  11. B
    Thanks, I am really happy with weekends race.

    During my training I aim to run at 4:50min/km and walk at 7:00-7:30min/km to give me a total time of 5min/km for marathon. Working and aiming to finish IM run leg in 3h30.

    Last weekends race I aimed to run at 4:00min/km and walk at 7:00min/km. Need to walk fast but feel 7min is almost to fast.

    So yes I don't run all out on run part otherwise I will bonk, I think. Just maintain a pace.

    See what you want to do IM run leg and train on that pace.
    Let me know how goes.

  12. J, perfect, I like the way you worked the math. It makes a lot of sense.


  13. Thanks for the great post Johan. Really interesting, I have heard about this technique as well, but I have to say, I had been very skeptical. I think the most attractive part of it to me as what you touched on—the fact that you are breaking down your marathon into 10 minute sections, rather than kilometer markers. Those markers have a way of feeling further and further away, and that gets to your psyche. This technique seems like a great way to address that.

    So, your heart rate average was lower during the times you ran, yes? Perhaps you said this as well, but how much faster were you averaging per km during the times you were running?

  14. I'm listening to the podcast now as I type..thanks for the link! Dana and I were very lucky to meet and listen to Bobby when he presented 2 clinics at our USAT Coaching Seminars. I've actually been following his marathon training plan from "Run Workouts in a Binder" and really love it. He just mentioned Bob Seebohar in his interview...another really great coach who specializes in nutrition and metabollic efficiency. Given your weight loss interests, I highly recommend his book "Metabollic Efficiency Training". All the best with the sponsorship - you totally deserve it. Your results and training are amazing!