Walking Versus Jogging Recovery Between Intervals

In the past several years it seems to have become conventional wisdom that it's always best to jog in between intervals. But it depends on the length and intensity of your intervals.

None of my coaches ever considered jogging important in between intervals except when we jogged back down hills during hill repeats. However, when running intervals that last over 3 minutes, jogging does help keep the blood flowing to flush out metabolic waste products that build up.

When running shorter, faster intervals, a walking or even standing rest can be better for allowing the muscles to replenish supply of phosphocreatine. This can be important to be able to consistently hit a challenging goal pace. Jogging through a rest in that context, especially when it's relatively short, such as around a minute, might cause your splits to be uneven or progressively slower. Summertime can be a good time to get some short speedwork, as it can be more manageable in the heat, especially if you have a water fountain available during the breaks.

There can always be exceptions, of course. You might want to run 200s or 400s with an equal distance jog if you're targeting an easier to manage 5K race pace, for example. But whatever you do, don't lie down or sit, at least not until after your cooldown.

Share your own favorite recovery routines!

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: This Week in Runners, Y, YMCA, recovery, intervals, walking, Jogging

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