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GTN Presents: When to Walk in a Race

BY Susan Legacki

Can taking a walk break save your race? It turns out that even the pros slow things down in order to get a performance edge.

As part of the partnership between the Global Triathlon Network (GTN) and TrainingPeaks, we’ll be bringing you twice-monthly episodes of the “Triathlon Training Explained” show, where hosts and former pro triathletes Mark Threlfall and Heather Fell answer your triathlon training questions with the help of TrainingPeaks software, coaches and industry experts from around the world.

If you’ve ever done a long or extremely hilly race, chances are you’ve at least considered walking parts of it in order to push through. Well, it turns out that even world champions have not only done the same thing, but actually consider (brief) walking breaks part of their overall race strategy. Two-time IRONMAN world champion Jan Frodeno, for example, has said that he regularly walks through aid stations in an IRONMAN in order to get in adequate calories or hydration and to keep his overall energy levels and race pace consistent.

The fact remains that walking is slower than running, however walking during points of time in a race—for example up a steep hill or in order to get in fuel or liquid—can help keep your overall pace consistent and your motivation levels high.

Hosts Heather Fell and Fraser Cartmell do their own experiments with walking versus running and speak to the experts on why even professional athletes can benefit from walk breaks within a race.

Find the full episode below:

Triathletes in the know like GTN’s Mark Threlfall, Fraser Cartmell and Heather Fell use TrainingPeaks to help plan, track and analyze their training. Dial-in your triathlon training with a free 14-day Premium Trial today!

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About Susan Legacki

Susan Grant Legacki is the Content Director at TrainingPeaks. The founding editor of LAVA Magazine and a former editor at Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon, Susan is an IRONMAN finisher, Boston Marathon qualifier, USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coach and certified Pilates instructor. When she’s not editing or writing copy about endurance sports, you can usually find her training for them around Boulder, Colo.