Jeffing a Half Marathon


Jeffing a Half Marathon

One of our most popular blog posts is all about jeffing and is it ok to run/walk/run. You can read more here. I mentioned in that post that I did a half marathon (3 now to date) this way and I thought I would write a little more about it.

So if you are thinking about a half marathon and wonder how you could jeff your way around, here is my experience and some pointers that could help you on your way.

Decide on the Intervals

First hings first, you need to decide on the intervals that you will be doing.

I call the intervals as being the time you run and walk combined. That is one interval. Now the trick is to find an interval that is suited to you. I don't think there is one fits all as we are all different.

During my training, I tried many different intervals to try and find out what suited me more. I tend to run fast (just can't seem to control my pace sometimes) so I tended to have shorter runs.

I started by basing it on a couch25k program where you walk for 1 minute then run for 1 minutes and so on. Many of these programmes build up to running 5k continuously. If you want to read more about couch25K apps and plans, read our post here

I went and tried a few different intervals including:

  1. 2minutes run, 1 walk
  2. 3minutes run, 1 walk
  3. 3 run, 2 walk.

Whilst trying out these intervals and as my fitness improved, I found that 4 minutes run and 2 minutes walk was ideal for me. 

To find your ideal interval, the next time you get out - try it out to see what suits you.

How many Intervals?

When you are testing out the intervals, not the distance you are covering with each interval.  Now they may all be slightly different and that is normal (not even the best runners in the world run every mile or km in exactly the same time) 

But you will start to see an average and I found that each 4 run and 2 walk would see me cover 1/2 a mile or roughly 0.8km.

Knowing this, it would be a case of getting the calculator out and dividing the 13 miles or 21km by the distance I would roughly cover with each interval.

13 miles divided by 1/2 mile intervals = 26 intervals. Or, 

21km divided by 0.8km intervals = 26 intervals or thereabouts.

For some this can be another mind tactic in that instead of counting miles or km, count how many intervals you have done versus what's left.

How to track the intervals

You can track the intervals as best you can by using the watch you have. Some watches allow you to set intervals so that you get a beep or vibration when each interval is done.  

I invested in a Garmin Forerunner 235, as I was seriously looking to get into running, and this has an interval feature in the training section. All I had to do was set the run minutes, the walk minutes and then the number of intervals.

If you don't have a Garmin 235, check out your watch if it has an interval function or there may be some apps that you can use to set up intervals.

Amazon often have deals on the 235, if you are interested you can check out the link here (affiliate link)

If all else fails, just keep an eye on the time and do the intervals start / stop yourself.

Try it out

If you are thinking about jeffing on your next half marathon, try out some intervals the next time you are out. You can do it on any distance, you don't have to do a long run. Try out different combinations to see what suits you.

I know some go as much as 10 minutes run, 1minute walk - but again it's about finding what suits you.

Now tackle that half marathon

Once you have tried out some intervals and settled for one that suits you, sign up for that half marathon and go smash it.

Remember, just because you have settled on an interval, it doesn't mean that you have to stick by it 100%. I've found that sometimes I've had to walk that bit longer to get my breath back or because there is that big monstrous hill ahead, just get back into the interval timings as soon as you can.

Let us know if you have done a half marathon by jeffing or run/walk intervals. How did you get on? How did you find the interval times to suit you? Please do leave a comment below, we love to hear from you.


1 comment


  • Joy Exton

    I`m currently jeffing for marathon training – I`m a 12 min miler usually, so the ratio I use is 40:20 – this might not seem very much to seasoned runners, but believe me in training, by the time I`ve got to 15+ miles, I`m pretty done! but my recovery is really quick.

    I`ve got Loch Ness marathon in approx 3 weeks time, so the proof will be in the pudding as they say :S


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published