I “ran” a little test today (hahaha I crack myself up!). I wanted to see what, if any, difference running the whole distance made on my time as opposed to interval running (run/walk). What did I find out, you ask? Well, I run about the same pace either way. The difference come later, as I’m nearing mile 4. When I interval I have much more reserve and can finish much stronger than when I don’t interval. Take for instance my run on June 3rd: 4 miles @45:41, and my run today: 4 miles @45:39. My interval on the 3rd was 10/2 for the whole run and today I ran the whole distance (I took 1 walk break after the first 3.1 miles, but not enough to call it an interval). My times were almost exact, but the way I felt was not. With my run on the 3rd I was able to finish strong, I was tired and spent, but felt good. Today, I was huffing and puffing. I really had to take the last .9 miles at a very slow pace (probably close to 12:00, if not slower). I could really feel the difference in my legs too, and that didn’t help my time. I don’t think the over all drain was worth the 3 seconds I shaved off. I do know this, I would have been hard pressed to run any further today.
Basically, I can totally see the benefits of running with an interval. It helps me pace better and enables me to give more at the end of the run. Am I glad I can run 4 miles with just one walk break… sure. BUT, on the whole I’d rather finish feeling great than feeling like a truck hit me. In the end, it’s about fitness and whether I run/walk 4 miles or run 4 miles, it’s still 4 miles… and THAT is what’s important.