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Walking as a Substitute For Running

BY Hal Higdon

I'm about to go on vacation for a week where it will be very complicated to follow my marathon training schedule. Could walking substitute for my missed run-training?

Have a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


I am in Week 9 of Marathon Intermediate 2, about to go on vacation for a week where it will be very complicated to follow my training schedule. At least, it may be difficult to run, but I will be walking 5 or 6 hours each day. Could this walking substitute for my missed run-training? 


Walking and running certainly are kissing cousins. That much walking on a daily basis offers more than an adequate substitute for whatever running you might have done following Intermediate 2. And your break comes at a good time, right in the middle. It will be easy for you to get back into your normal routine once you return from vacation. In fact, if anything, you may return somewhat “overtrained.” Given that, make sure that you rest a couple of days (half mileage) before resuming your running routine.

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About Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for ‘Runner’s World‘ and author of 34 books, including the best-selling ‘Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide’. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that over a quarter of a million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks. Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans — check out more of Hal Higdon’s training plans on his website.