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How To: Running & Walking Your First Mile - Running 101 Series

Whether you’re a new runner or a seasoned marathoner, there are a few running techniques that can get you to your first mile while also taking your skills to a new level. One of my favorites is the ‘Run-Walk-Run’ method popularized by former Olympian Jeff Galloway. I used this method at the very beginning of my run journey and still use a modified version of it today as a Dopey alum.


The Run-Walk-Run method (RWR from now on) is a time-based method where you run for a predetermined length of time, then walk for a predetermined length of time, and repeat. For example, let’s say you’re setting out to RWR for 1 mile. You’ll need to determine what your running and walking ‘intervals’ will be – i.e. how long will you run and walk. Your intervals can be anything you choose and is completely based on your current ability. The only ‘wrong’ way to do this, is to choose an interval you cannot maintain. For simplicity, lets say you choose 45sec/30sec intervals. This means you’ll run for 45 seconds (nonstop at whatever pace is comfortable for you) and then walk for 30 seconds before returning to your run. You’ll continue this RWR for the full mile.

As a beginner, you’ll need to determine what YOUR intervals will be and the only way to do this is to get out there and try! Your intervals are personal to YOU so do not compare them to anyone else or to what you thought they would be. Personally, I remember starting with 30/30 intervals and adjusted from there. Keep in mind that your walking interval can also be longer than your running interval. The purpose of the walk interval is to reduce the stress on your body and mind. Enjoy your walk intervals and try not to stress about the upcoming run interval. If you are stressing about the run interval (like I did in the beginning!) this could be a sign that your interval timing might be off.


There are many methods that can get you through your first mile, but I love recommending RWR because it set me out on my healthy and sustainable running journey. It wasn’t as intimidating as some other methods I had read about, and it gave me the approval that I needed in the beginning that it is OK to walk! Here are a few Principals behind RWR from Jeff Galloway’s website:

Principles behind Run Walk Run

  • Continuous use of a muscle will result in quicker fatigue

  • The longer the run segment, the more fatigue

  • Run Walk Run is a form of interval training

  • Conservation of resources

  • Quicker recovery

  • Less stress on the “weak links”

  • Ability to enjoy endorphins

  • Reduce core body temperature


No matter what method you try, I hope this blog and others in this series have given you the information, confidence, and motivation you needed to get started on your run journey! RWR was a huge part of my origin story, so I hope you can benefit from it as much as I have!

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