When I first came to running, I did so through Bluefinapp's Couch to 5k app for the iPhone. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was 171 lbs. & knew something needed to change. I needed someone (or something) to hold my hand & walk me through the process of becoming a runner. I hated getting on my treadmill & only lasting 5 minutes; it felt like defeat every single time. The C25k program was the answer to all of that for me. Suddenly, I had prompts in my ear telling me when to run & when to walk. In 8 weeks, I was able to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill without stopping. It was a big achievement for me.
As time has gone on, my distances & times have improved. I tried to run longer distances without taking walk breaks, but found my lungs & legs couldn't keep up. I decided to try the Run/Walk routine. I opted for the Jeff Galloway method of running for 10 minutes & walking 1 minute for recovery. That's when my distances really improved! Almost overnight, I was able to run 4, 5, & eventually 16 miles with no real problems. That's not to say it wasn't challenging, but I was able to run faster because I was taking walking/breathing breaks. By lowering my heart rate during that single minute, I was able to really run. And it felt awesome.
There are plenty of alternating theories about the Run/Walk method. Some snobby runners argue "you're not a real runner if you don't run the whole thing." Others think one minute isn't a long enough break to really make a difference... that the break needs to be 90 seconds. If you do a Google search of the term "run walk method," you'll find all kinds of input. Everyone has an opinion on the subject.
So here's mine: do what works for you! If you can run 10 miles without stopping, then right on. If you find a short walk break helps you maintain your endurance, then do it. I've lost count of the times I've heard "I have to run it nonstop." Ask yourself why. Why do you think it's important to run it nonstop? What does that prove?
If it's a personal goal, then by all means, go for it & don't ever stop trying.
But maybe you're like me. Maybe you want to run, but you hate that "out of breath" feeling... or every once in awhile, your body needs a break. Maybe you feel defeated because you simply can't seem to make your body last that long. If I'm describing you, then try 10/1. The 10/1 method made a runner out of me.
And if you feel you're "not really running" if you take walk breaks, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. Every single time you set foot on the road or the treadmill & decide to run, you're running. Taking walk breaks does not make you any less of a runner than someone who can maintain a 9-minute mile for an entire marathon. Running is the achievement.
I'm a 10/1 runner & proud.