How walk breaks on long runs affect your race

Whether taking frequent breaks during a long run impacts your training run – and ultimately your race – has been on my mind a lot lately.

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Hard to believe a few months ago, I was doing my long runs in Switzerland.

While training for my first half-marathon in 2009, I joined the Running Room which champions the “10and1s”, which means every runner runs for 10 minutes and then takes a 1 minute break regardless of your pace group. This method worked great until I ran my first international race, and my watch broke so I wasn’t able to pace myself and take the timed breaks that I had spent months training for. All of the pace groups were running continuously and I didn’t dare follow them because I thought I’d never last. I was left on my own, running blind, and completed that marathon in 5:08:12. I suffered for two weeks to recover from it.

I decided to forgo the planned walk breaks and I joined a different running group. I learned how to complete long runs without planned breaks, instead breaking at lights or for gel/water. I thought this was going to propel me into magically running a faster marathon. But bad nutrition habits and overtraining got me too injured to really know if continuous long runs made a difference or not. I finished my second marathon in 4:47:25.

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That time I ran a marathon without stopping to walk once. I hope to have this kind of success at my next…

Fast forward to earlier this year. I did all of my long runs solo and I took A LOT of breaks in the middle of them. I used any excuse to stop – traffic lights, stop signs, gel breaks, double checking the route, texting Mike (okay, only when I got lost and really frustrated)…you get the picture. I remember panicking in the weeks leading up to my third marathon because I was worried that taking too many breaks in the middle of my long runs would make me incapable of running an entire marathon continuously. Well, I did not stop a single time during the marathon to walk. I even ran through all water/gel tables and I finished my third marathon in 3:41:46.

Personally, I find if I stop too many times near the end of a long run, I get really stiff and I have trouble getting started again. At the same time, I don’t mind taking breaks as needed, especially during the summer when I feel the need to stop at every single water fountain to cool down. I’d like to think it didn’t have an impact on my marathon, but I’ve only had one good experience of my three. I don’t have any desire to go back to 10and1s unless I’m starting over again after taking an extended break from running.

So, I’m genuinely curious – do you think breaks during long runs should be kept to a minimum? Do you think taking breaks has an impact on race day or is it all about getting the mileage in no matter how long it takes?

alison

TGC: Bar Foxx (Gothenburg)

The Global Cup: BAR FOXX

Location: Gothenburg, SWEDEN

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Why yes, we’ll come in.

Gothenburg was our first stop on our European adventure. Mike and I had a few hours to kill before checking into our AirBnb accommodation so we took a chance on BarFoxx and never looked back.  

1. Coffee

The coffee, oh, the coffee! Whenever I try a new cafe, the first question I always ask is what type of milk they offer. Being lactose intolerant sucks because nothing really beats a well-made cappuccino with regular milk. Except, maybe oat milk. I developed a full blown obsession with oat milk which, sadly, is not easy to find in Canada. Even Mike who thinks nondairy milk is kind of gimmicky fell in love with the taste of oat milk cappuccinos from BarFoxx. Their regular coffee is amazing, too. We came here multiple times every day that we stayed in Gothenburg.

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Tip: grab a few mini almond biscotti to dip in your coffee.

2. Food

We were starving when we came into the cafe so Mike took a chance and ordered the Goulash that he saw on the menu. I was only going to have “a little bit” to try it, but I ended up eating almost half of it. The Goulash was full of flavour and the bread that came with it was amazing (as it turns out, bread is amazing all over Europe even in the most unassuming cafes but that’s a story for another day). We came back and tried a vegetarian bagel that came toasted as well as a fralla which was like a mini cheese sandwich. They had really good looking salads there as well that we would have eaten if we weren’t trying to stick to some type of budget.

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Goulash and a plain fralla (bread roll). So, so comforting and delicious. (source)

3. Atmosphere

The cafe is small, but cosy. There are a few tables in the corner and seats lined up against the window. There’s a big communal table in the middle for you to sit on, and a little seated area against the wall full of cushions and blankets to keep you warm. We took our laptops here to do work, but since it didn’t have wifi, we couldn’t get too much work done. We saw a few students working during the day and some people having business meetings, but no one was really working away on their laptops (except us).  The staff was so friendly, and everyone spoke English which allowed us to get to know the staff while we were there.

We loved Gothenburg as a city so there is no doubt we will be back. And when we return for a visit, the first place we’ll visit is BarFoxx.

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Great, inviting atmosphere. You could spend definitely spend hours here eating delicious food while reading a book, working on your laptop (without wifi) or catching up with a friend.

Quick stats:

Address: Vasagatan 32, 411 24 Göteborg, Sweden
Coffice rating: 3/5
Instagram: /barfoxx
Neighbourhood: Central Gothenburg
Official site: www.barfoxx.com
Twitter: n/a
Wifi: No

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