Run/Walk Treadmill Workout

by Kim on October 29, 2013

Have you ever experimented with treadmill walking vs. running?

Last night, I was feeling that restless leg syndrome thing kick in after a long day of sitting behind a desk, and I got it into my head that my legs were craving a treadmill sesh. But my brain was craving some time to flip through the latest Fitness mag I just got in the mail. (#FirstWorldProblems, I know.)

Enter: the run/walk workout! I’ll burn off some energy during the running part and then read/relax during the walking part.

Problem: I don’t like to “waste time” while working out, so I wanted to make every minute count.

Enter: the treadmill incline.

And…yeahhh…let’s just say that once I got into it, I made two discoveries very quickly:

It is not possible to read while power-walking on an enormous incline. (Or if it is, it’s a gift I do not have.) I don’t like reading on machines unless I can hold the thing I’m reading, and my arms were way too busy pumping to hold anything.

Walking can be harder than running. Especially when you hit the speed where your body’s itching to break into a run and you have to hold it back. When I was in the middle of the walking strides, I couldn’t wait until I could run again, just for the break.

I recently read an article in Fitness about how walking offers the same cardiovascular benefits as running—and even the same fitness benefits, if you’re power walking hard enough to burn the same amount of calories (it’s that whole “which is heavier, a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?” argument).

If you’re anything like me, you might think of walking as a “break"—but it definitely doesn’t have to be. I’ve done pure walking workouts on the treadmill that have left my legs aching the next day, way more than they would have been if I’d done a run.

Part of the reason for that? My legs are used to running, not fast walking. Walking relies on different muscles, in different ways, and is a movement my brain is less familiar with coordinating at high speeds. It’s the kind of workout that, because it’s different, increases “neuromuscular efficiency” (the nervous system’s ability to recruit and stabilize the right muscles quickly and effectively)—which, by the way, also burns more calories.

So if you’re interested in changing it up, either for increased neuromuscular efficiency or for the hell of it (but not, I’m afraid, for the chance to read magazines easily), here’s the workout I did:

Run Walk Treadmill Wkout

Oh yeah—and I also recently tried backwards treadmill jogging.

Talk about a wake-up call for the nervous system. Kinda like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. It feels so, so weird. But it’s definitely great balance training, and again, demands different muscle patterns than your body’s used to. Not something I see myself doing regularly though—there are just too many ways I can see it ending badly.

Runners: do you ever incorporate speed walking into your training?

Have you ever tried backwards running?

I’m kinda lucky that I have a treadmill at home for this…pretty sure I’d be too embarrassed to try it at the gym!

Hope you’re having a great day!

xoxo, K

P.S. If you haven’t seen this yet, you should probably give it a watch. (Just beware if you have a sensitive stomach—there is a brief puking moment.)

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome October 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Haha! Love that commercial! I thought it was perfect for my post today :-) I have done backwards running before both outdoors and on the treadmill and it is SO much harder on the treadmill! I don’t do it often because people look at me like I’m crazy but it definitely works different muscles in a good way!
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Kim October 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Agreed, on all points! :)

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Tawny October 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Love this idea! Totally going to have to give this a try! Although it sounds like there is a high risk of me falling flat on my face…but it’s a chance I am willing to make :P
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Ali October 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I like to do walk/run intervals when I’m not feeling like pushing myself too hard. I also like doing sprints on the treadmill this way too!
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Kim October 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I always think that too–and then it ends up being harder than I thought! (If you use inclines, anyway!)

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Claire October 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I’m one of the weirdos that feels funny about running when pregnant so with this one and my last I speed walk on the treadmill at an incline…I swear I am more sweaty after a speed walk/incline than a jog. Maybe it’s in my head! I do plan to get back into running after this baby is born…and by running I mean 1-3 miles per workout! Haha ;)

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Kim October 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Running is running! :) I’m always on and off with it myself. I didn’t like how it felt while preggo either!

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Kim October 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

On days when I want to catch up on some DVR shows but can’t justify sitting around, I hop on the treadmill and walk – I always amp the incline and you are right – walking can be hard!!
Great workout!
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Kim October 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I’m so jealous! We have a TV by our treadmill, but no DVR. I always wish for that. :) (There’s another first world problem for ya!)

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Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat October 29, 2013 at 8:20 am

I’ve actually never tried walking backwards on the treadmill. I’d definitely like to try that out though! Oh gosh, that video! hehehe.
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Kim October 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

It’s so hard! But some people really do it.

I love that video. Don’t mess with candy. :)

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Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate October 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

hahaha that just made my morning. “It tastes like poopy piñata!”

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Kim October 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I know the exact taste he’s referring to. Haha :)

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