I’ve been doing much more walking lately than ever before. Over the past 4 months, I’ve been home every single day with my son who is now 18 months old. 5 days a week it’s just me and him. The days can be long, and walking has given us a way to get outside. It keeps him contained and gives me a break from chasing him around. I also know it’s good for him to get out of the house and see the world around us, including other humans. Besides all of that, I think that all the walking has been a good supplement to my running. I’m going to share 6 reasons why walking is good for runners.
This post isn’t specifically about the run/walk method or taking walking breaks during your runs. Those can be great for some runners too! This is more about why walking in addition to running can be good for runners, mentally and physically. How you add in those walks is totally up to you.
6 Reasons Why Walking is Good For Runners
1. Extra time on your feet
If you are trying to build mileage, walking is a great way to start adding in some more time on your feet. It will take you longer to cover the same distance, but you are less likely to get injured. This can be a slow, gradual way to increase your mileage. You can eventually transition some of your walking miles to running miles, or play around with different amounts of mileage to see what works best for you.
2. Low Impact
Walking is much gentler on the body than running, making it a great cross-training activity. If you are coming back from an injury or injury-prone, walking is a great way to supplement your running. For those of you who prefer exercising outside, this is a way to cross-train without having to get on an elliptical or bike. Not to mention, it’s free and accessible to pretty much anyone!
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3. Shake out your legs
If your legs are sore or tired, walking is a great way to recover. There were some days when all I wanted to do after a long run was lay on the couch, but that’s not an option when you’re watching a toddler. So we would go for a walk, and my legs felt better afterwards. The key is going as slow as you need to and continuing to listen to your body. Even though it’s low impact, it’s still extra time on your feet.
4. Engage your muscles
When you are walking, you are moving slower and have more time to think about actually engaging your muscles properly. I have a really hard time feeling my glutes when I run, but I can more easily focus on engaging them when I walk. It’s also easier to pay attention to posture and keeping your core strong. I think (hope) this translates over to better running form.
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5. Slow down your mind
When I run my mind is either going a mile a minute, or I completely zone out. I feel like there is no in between. However, when I walk I feel like I can slow down my mind and actually spend some time thinking. Walking can be a much more relaxing activity for some people, especially those of us who tend to get stressed out easily.
When I walk, I am much better at noticing everything going on. This includes what is going on around me, as well as what is going on inside me. From my body (are certain muscles tight) to my mind (wow, I didn’t realize how anxious I was feeling today) walking gives me a chance to check in with myself. I also pay attention to things around me in nature that I tend to ignore when I am running.
Being home with a toddler has certainly had a huge impact on my motivation to go for walks. It seems many people who are home more due to COVID-19 are getting out to walk more as well. While walking will never be my favorite (compared to running) I’ve certainly learned that there are many benefits to it, especially for runners.
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Do you like to go for walks?
Have you noticed any of these benefits from walking?
What other cross-training activities do you enjoy?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, Running on Happy and Organic Runner Mom to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.