My 1st mile was a warm up at a very slow pace, so I ran that whole time, then walked briskly for 1 minute. I then ran the rest 2.5 miles with 1 minute breaks after each 1/2 mile. It took me 51 minutes and I only walked a total of 5 minutes (that's about 1/10th of the distance, or just over 1/4 mile, so it is pretty insignificant). I may try it every mile next time, but I think this worked really well. I still got the same workout as if I ran the whole time, and I was able to easily increase my distance. The walk breaks allowed me to catch my breath, give my legs a quick rest, and even run a little faster knowing that I had a walking break coming up in less than 1/2 a mile. I also seemed to recover faster during my cool down walk.
Why do walk breaks work?
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. [...] By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. [...]
Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.
Since I have the Wee Little Virtual 5K this weekend, I'll use that as my long run and try for 4 miles next week. The plan is to run 2 miles 4 days a week and long runs on Sundays. I may switch the long run to Saturdays since that is when most races are held or if things come up. I want to stay flexible with this schedule. I also want to incorporate a bit of interval speed training once a week. I think I may try that tomorrow morning and see how it goes. I am not quite sure when I want to increase the distance of the short runs. I may keep them short for now and continue increasing the long runs until 2 miles seems too easy. At some point I'll start to seriously train for that 10K in October, but I have a feeling I'll already be running that distance long before then.