Walking versus running

A good question has come through from Chris, someone who like many others, has been viewing the site and has finally posted! Question is

Which exercise is better, walking or running?

There is no straight answer to this one Chris as I like to look at the big picture. The easiest to answer is this. If someone is new to training or wants to get started running, it can be intimidating and downright hard to say the least, anyone who has done it can testify to this!

Also, you may have a problem with your knee/ankle/back, and if this is the case, then I would advise walking to start with, make sure you get a good set of running shoes (although you won’t be running) as all the best technology and support goes into running shoes, they don’t have to expensive either, there’s always pairs on sale at any sports shop and sometimes you can get an excellent pair for around £40. What you want to spend is up to you, but bear in mind they mostly last for around 500 miles so you need to change them regularly, that is the true secret.

They used to say I would be a cripple by the time I was 35, however I change my shoes every 8 weeks now through picton sports in Llanelli, and im feeling better than ever at recently turning 41. I change them so often because my running would be considered excessive by many, but it is a big part of my job! So having proper training shoes is absolutely vital, or you will invite injuries.

Back to the question of walking versus running. I would say that an average person usually finds running for any length of time to begin with too difficult, so walking quickly is achievable and will soon get most people out of breath. Then, I would move them on to hills to drive up the intensity of the workout and this again, can be very tough!

Then, I find as long as there are no prior injuries or knee complaints etc, a lot of individuals want to step it up and achieve some running targets. I start with maybe running for 20 yards, walking for 50 yards, running for 20, walking for 50 and son on. Over a 6 week period, it could easily become running for 150 yards, walking for 50 yards, running for 150 and so on. People progress at different rates depending on ability, motivation, dietary habits etc, but with some well thought out and progressive training, the results will be very good.

I would only attempt to run a maximum of twice a week to start, to get your joints used to the extra load (the pressure can be 3 times your body weight). When you get up to around 20 minutes of constant running on the flat, I would suggest trying to bring in interval training (see my recent post on that), sprints on flat and sprints up hills over shorter distances (see previous posts on training for sports). These forms of training not only relieve boredom, but they cam bring you some tremendous results.

I have some individuals who are very good walkers too and just love walking. They start off on flat of course, then they work on rolling hills, and then they work up to some very demanding hills and even mountains. I have had a couple of people walk/climb up some very  famous peaks in the world, so the sky’s the limit.

So back to the question which is better, I would say both are very good depending on personal preference. I would say that most have a desire to run, but I have some who hate running and love to cycle. I have some who love to swim. I have some who hate an audience and love to work inside with weights and body weight exercises. I am fully aware that many people have ailments that make running not very attractive. It is up to me to make sure they have a programme that they can still get into amazing shape with. Anyone who has trained with me will know after a good period of conditioning, I seek out the highest hills and some of the most demanding terrains. There’s plenty of them around the Llanelli, burry port and gower area’s so take your pick and see what you can do.

Another point, I would use the level of intensity as your guide to your workout. Think 1 as very easy, and 10 as working at your max. If you can get a 8 or 9 out of a walking workout, then that’s fantastic, and the same with running. It’s the effort you put in that counts and not necessarily if its walking or running. If you have an issue with your knees, choose non weight bearing such as cycling and swimming, walking may be okay too but running may be inviting trouble.

Up to you and let me know how you get on and good luck on the challenge next week!

Keri

2 Replies to “Walking versus running”

  1. I also hear and get confused by the heart rate issue,eg-the guidelines on cardio machines seem to keep the intensity quite low for “fat burning” and to keep my heart rate in this zone i find myself barely breaking sweat.What is your opinion about this pal.

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