Are you ready to take on the Tokyo Marathon with confidence? 

In this blog post, we will explore the Run-Walk strategy and how you can effectively apply it to achieve your goals. 

The Run-Walk strategy is a popular approach in marathon running which involves a structured alternation between running and walking at planned intervals. The goal is to minimize overall fatigue during the race, enabling you to cover greater distances over an extended period.

Don’t worry, we’ll break it down in simple terms so that you can understand and benefit from this approach.

What Is The Run-Walk Method

First things first, let’s get familiar with the Run-Walk strategy. 

This method involves alternating between running and walking intervals during the marathon. 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for beginners! 

Run-Walk can be used by runners of all levels, including those participating in the Tokyo Marathon. 

This approach can be particularly effective on the fast and flat course of the Tokyo Marathon, helping you achieve your target time.

Training with this strategy during your long and easy runs is crucial to familiarizing yourself with the intervals and ensuring a smooth execution on race day. 

The run-walk method offers flexibility in interval lengths, catering to the needs and experience levels of different runners. 

Beginners often start with shorter running intervals followed by longer walking intervals, gradually building their endurance. More experienced runners, on the other hand, may opt for longer running intervals and shorter walking intervals, aiming to enhance their performance. 

The run-walk strategy has gained widespread attention in the running community due to its adaptability and the benefits it offers to runners of all levels.

What Are The Benefits Of Using The Run-Walk Method

There are numerous benefits to utilizing the Run-Walk strategy. 

1. Improves Recovery

Taking walking breaks during your run acts as quick recovery intervals, preventing your body from getting excessively tired. This helps in the recovery of your running muscles, allowing you to extend your running duration without feeling overly exhausted. 

Consequently, you’ll find that you recover more quickly and experience reduced muscle soreness after your run.

2. Reduces Injuries

The run-walk strategy plays a significant role in lowering the risk of injuries, which is especially beneficial if you’ve experienced injuries previously or are currently managing a minor one. 

By incorporating walking intervals, the method offers relief from the repetitive stress of running, effectively decreasing the chances of overuse injuries.

3. Enhances Focus

The Run-Walk strategy aids in keeping your mind centered on the current task, which is particularly beneficial if you often find yourself preoccupied with completing lengthy runs. 

By being mindful of your running and walking intervals, this method encourages you to stay engaged in the present segment of your run, alleviating unnecessary concerns about the remaining distance.

4. Helps Prevent Overheating

Continuous running over extended periods, especially in hot and humid conditions, can lead to overheating. The inclusion of walk breaks provides an opportunity for your body to cool down and regulate its temperature. 

This can be especially advantageous in averting heat-related problems during your runs.

5. Reduces Mental Stress

By incorporating walk breaks into your run, you can alleviate the mental stress often linked with running long distances. 

This integration enhances your feeling of control during workouts, making the running experience feel less intimidating and more mentally manageable.

6. Reducing Stress on Your Body

The Run-Walk method effectively lessens the impact on your joints and muscles, especially during longer and faster runs. By regularly taking short walking breaks, this technique helps decrease the overall strain on your body, minimizing the load on your muscles while running. 

These strategic breaks aid muscle and joint recovery, thereby reducing stress on your joints and allowing you to run longer distances with less discomfort.

7. Controlling Running Form During Long Distances

Endurance runs often lead to fatigue-induced lapses in running form, heightening the possibility of injuries. The Run-Walk strategy offers a chance to reset and sustain proper running form within each running segment, minimizing the risk of form-related complications. 

As a result, you can gradually enhance your overall running speed and pace over time.

8. Minimizing Post-Run Aches

Lengthy runs without intervals can leave your muscles tired and achy. The walking segments in the Run-Walk approach serve as active recovery periods, decreasing the muscle soreness that often follows sustained running.

9. Encouraging Efficient And Economical Running

By tactfully including walking breaks, you can conserve energy and run with better efficiency. This conservation of energy becomes particularly crucial during the latter parts of extended runs, when fatigue starts to kick in. It ensures you retain the resources necessary to finish strongly.

10. Boosting Endurance, Making Long-Distance Runs More Feasible

Endurance is a vital component of long-distance running. The periodic walking breaks in this strategy enable you to prolong your runs without feeling utterly depleted. 

Gradually, this aids in developing the stamina required for handling extended distances.

How To Determine Your Run-Walk Intervals For The Tokyo Marathon

Now, let’s talk about how to determine your Run-Walk intervals. The duration of your running and walking intervals will depend on various factors, such as your fitness level and personal preference. 

How To Use The Run-Walk Method If You’re A Beginner

If you’re new to running or just getting started, using the work-to-rest ratio principle can be an excellent approach, and you can adjust it as you become more experienced.

This method depends on time and is particularly suitable for beginners. Initially, aim for a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. This means you run for a specific duration and then walk for the same amount of time. 

For instance, you can start with short intervals, such as one minute of running followed by one minute of walking.

As you build confidence in your running abilities, you can modify the ratio to challenge yourself further. You can easily adjust the ratio during your workout. For example, you might try:

  • Running for 1 minute and walking for 5 minutes.
  • Running for 2 minutes and walking for 4 minutes.
  • Running for 3 minutes and walking for 3 minutes.
  • Running for 4 minutes and walking for 2 minutes.
  • Running for 5 minutes and walking for 1 minute.

This approach allows you to gradually improve your running endurance and customize the ratio to suit your fitness level.

For Intermediate Runners

For intermediate runners who already have some experience with run-walk routines, you can consider slightly lengthening your running intervals.

Try incorporating 60-90-second running intervals during every 4-6 kilometers (2.5-3.7 miles) of your workout. This adjustment can help you challenge yourself as you continue to advance in your training.

For Experienced Runners

Experienced runners who are familiar with the run-walk strategy can opt for even longer running intervals. Aim for 60-90 seconds of running every 6-8 kilometers (3.7-5 miles). 

These extended intervals offer a more challenging workout while still leveraging the advantages of the run-walk approach.

The Only Downside Of The Run-Walk Method 

The Run-Walk method, despite its many benefits, can present a challenge for some runners during a major race. 

The allure of the race atmosphere, with its electrifying energy and enthusiastic spectators, may lead some runners to forgo their planned walking breaks and continue running. 

In these exhilarating moments, staying committed to the pre-planned strategy can be tough. 

Some runners might choose to adjust their plan on the fly, opting for shorter or fewer walking breaks to match the race-day vibe. 

Others remain dedicated to their original strategy, understanding that the walk breaks are crucial for maintaining stamina and finishing strong, even if it means missing out on some of the excitement of race day.

Despite this potential challenge, the benefits of the Run-Walk method outweigh this drawback, making it a valuable tool for runners at all levels.

Recently, I competed in the Amsterdam Marathon. Not planning to run it all out, I looked to add in walk breaks and 15 (9.3 mi), 25 (15.5 mi), and 35K (21.7 mi). Unsurprisingly, despite not “racing,” this was my fastest marathon in 2 years, and I finished feeling very strong.

Don’t Forget Nutrition and Hydration

Fueling your body properly is essential when using the Run-Walk strategy. 

Hydration and nutrition play a crucial role in marathon training, providing the necessary fuel for your body without hindering your performance. 

Adequate hydration is equally vital during your runs, as dehydration can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps, greatly affecting your training and overall performance.

Make sure to have a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated throughout your training and on race day. 

Consider incorporating carbohydrates to sustain energy and electrolytes to replenish what you lose through sweating.

How To Mentally Prepare For The Tokyo Marathon

Preparing mentally is just as important as physical training. 

Here are some tips to help you strengthen your mental resilience and prepare for the challenges ahead:

Visualize And Affirm

Practice visualizing yourself successfully completing the marathon. See yourself crossing the finish line and have that feeling of accomplishment. Repeat positive affirmations to reinforce your confidence and remind yourself of your capabilities.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Cultivate a positive internal dialogue. Replace self-doubt and negative thoughts with encouraging and empowering self-talk. Remind yourself of your dedication, training, and the progress you have made throughout your preparation.

Embrace The Challenges

Acknowledge that the marathon will be physically and mentally demanding. Embrace the discomfort and challenges as part of the journey. Adopting a resilient mindset can help you push through tough moments during the race.

Focus On The Present Moment

Stay focused on the present moment rather than worrying about the distance that remains. Concentrate on your running form, breathing, and maintaining a steady pace. This approach can help you stay grounded and perform at your best.

Seek Support And Encouragement

Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or fellow runners who understand and encourage your goals. Their positive energy and encouragement can provide an extra boost of motivation when you need it most.

Reflect On Your Training Progress

Take time to reflect on the progress you’ve made during your training journey. Celebrate your accomplishments and milestones, whether they involve increases in mileage, improved speed, or enhanced endurance. Recognize the dedication and hard work you’ve put in to reach this point.

Grab your Tokyo Marathon Training Plan here!

Post-Marathon Recovery Tips

Congratulations! You did it! After crossing the finish line, it’s crucial to take care of your body during the recovery process. 

  • Give your body ample time to rest and recover after the marathon. Consider incorporating light activities such as gentle stretching, yoga, or short walks in the days following the race to promote blood circulation and prevent muscle stiffness.
  • Continue to prioritize a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle repair and replenish depleted nutrients. Include foods that are high in antioxidants to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Maintain proper hydration even after the marathon to aid in the recovery process. Consume water, electrolyte-rich beverages, and hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.
  • Take time to reflect on your marathon experience and celebrate your accomplishment. Set new goals and aspirations for your future running endeavors, considering the lessons learned and areas for improvement from this race.

Now, let’s address some common challenges and misconceptions associated with the Run-Walk strategy. 

Addressing Challenges and Misconceptions

The Run-Walk strategy is often misconceived as suitable only for beginners or those new to running. In reality, runners of all levels, including seasoned athletes and marathoners, can benefit from incorporating this strategy into their training and race-day plans.

One of the challenges of the Run-Walk strategy is maintaining discipline during walk intervals and finding the appropriate balance between running and walking. 

Initially, it may require practice to establish a comfortable and sustainable rhythm that optimizes both endurance and recovery. 

With consistent training and perseverance, runners can effectively manage their pace and intervals to achieve their desired goals.

Contrary to the idea that the Run-Walk strategy might slow you down, taking planned walking breaks can actually make you a better runner. 

It helps you save energy, prevents you from getting too tired too quickly, and keeps your pace steady. This all helps you run for longer without getting hurt.

We encourage you to adopt the Run-Walk strategy for a successful Tokyo Marathon. Remember, it’s not just about how quickly you finish, but the journey you take to get there. 

By using this approach, you’ll be able to savor the experience, minimize fatigue, and improve your chances of crossing that finish line with a sense of accomplishment. Best of luck on your marathon journey!


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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