I am writing about my friend's first experience post completing a full marathon. Being her very first try at the endurance sport of long distance running, she couldn't complete the full distance, not at least by running. She had to complete it by walking and jogging alternatively (walking a few kms and jogging another few for the final ~12 odd kms). If I wanted to express this in a sentence, how can I best do it?

Shree ________ her way to the finish line, completely exhausted and struggling for breath.

Strolled and tiptoed seem to convey entirely different meanings to the above sentence. Struggled comes close but it would underwhelm what I am trying to say. I'd appreciate a lot if you could suggest an answer, specifically in the context of Marathons.

  • 1
    Do you want an answer from me? I always limp, but start to fly 2 or 3 miles before the finish line.
    – user140086
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:04
  • @deadrat- It's a nice option. However, it leans towards "unsteadily", which I am not fond of in this case... I will wait for some more options. Please post it as an answer. It makes a good candidate!
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:05
  • @Rathony - Nice! Being a marathon runner yourself, doesn't limp suggest that you met with an injury(teared muscle, pulled hamstring etc) during the course of the marathon? I'm not too sure.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:10
  • @BiscuitBoy Shree "gritted" her way to the finish line, completely exhausted and struggling for breath
    – Elian
    Jan 25, 2016 at 9:21
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    Coming from a running family, we would always say 'jog-walked'. Jan 25, 2016 at 12:10

3 Answers 3


I'm no runner, I am allergic to any physical outdoor exercise but online I found the following

  • Run-Walk

The walk-run intervals in this plan remain consistent throughout (one minute of running and three minutes of walking) up until the race. The second program (run-walk) is for women who currently run-walk or who run shorter distances. Run-walk workouts are running-focused and intervals vary to help improve performance and speed.
Women's Running

from the website Walk Jog Run

The Newbie Run-Walk Marathon Training Program is a very popular program for first-time marathoners and those who want to enjoy training with minimal risk of injury.

New York Times' article

To train for my first marathon, I’m using the “run-walk” method, popularized by the distance coach Jeff Galloway, a member of the 1972 Olympic team.

The OP's sentence

Shree ran-walked her way to the finish line, completely exhausted and struggling for breath.

  • Thanks for a great and pertinent answer. Although it seems to be a methodology for beginner Marathon runners, I can use the term figuratively to describe Shree's state. However, I will wait for some time before accepting! Hope that's OK.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:05
  • No probs, someone who's into running will submit a better answer (if there's one).
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:09
  • Yeah, I'm no runner, but I've commonly seen "run/walk" or something similar.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:24

The word Fartlek describes the action of alternating speed:

Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play," and that is exactly what it’s all about. Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout.

Source: Runner's World

The previous quote suggests that this is a method of running, but in my own experience the following quote is more accurate:

Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. Fartlek runs are a very simple form of a long distance run. Fartlek training “is simply defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running." For some people, this could be a mix of jogging and sprinting, but for beginners it could be walking with jogging sections added in when possible.

Source: Wikipedia

The idea is that as long as one does not stop it is a Fartlek. There is no strict structure, although one could impose a structure (e.g. sprint 100 meters, walk 100 meters, repeat) if one chooses. It could be just as valid to run as long as one is able, then walk or jog to recover.

To get back to your original example, we could restructure it a little bit to make it work around the noun Fartlek:

Shree made her way to the finish line after a Fartlek, completely exhausted and struggling for breath.

  • 1
    +1 for introducing a new term to me. Fartlek sounds funny in English, but it could well be apt for my scenario. Let me read more on this.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 25, 2016 at 15:28
  • Interesting how other languages have these words but English does not. In German Fartlek is „Fahrtenspiel“ and the word OP is searching for would probably be „Laufmarsch“ (though it’s kind of a military term) which means literally “running march” and is a way for troops to cover long distances quickly by foot.
    – Michael
    Jan 25, 2016 at 15:55
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    @Michael Technically, fartlek is an English word of Swedish origin. Sort of like e.g. mesa which is of Spanish origin but still a valid English word meaning mostly the same thing.
    – user100197
    Jan 25, 2016 at 15:58
  • @Snowman: Do native English speakers generally understand the meaning of Fartlek though? I’m not a native and the first mention of Fartlek I’ve encountered was in Daniel’s Running Formula by Jack Daniels where he introduces it as a “Swedish term translated as ‘speed play’.”.
    – Michael
    Jan 25, 2016 at 16:06
  • @Michael depends on the context and the audience. I would classify "fartlek" as jargon: myself and my cross country and track teams in high school understood it, but I would not expect the general public to know the word. There are plenty of other examples, such as obscure medical terminology that English-speaking physicians would understand but laymen would be scratching their heads over.
    – user100197
    Jan 25, 2016 at 16:09

This is often referred to as interval (or sprint) training, i would expect the same when referring to using this during a marathon. So the strategy is "Internal running" a marathon.

This is a common technique used during long distance races.

  • 2
    Hi, Michael, how does this phrase fit in the OP's example sentence? Can you link a reference that can support your answer? Please make sure that you take the tour and visit our help center for additional guidance.
    – user140086
    Jan 25, 2016 at 18:34

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