I don't get this 'body learning to do this' theory...
Just because you do this run-walk routine does not mean that your body will feel compelled to do the pavlovian thing of walking-running during a race...
I believe (warning! Cliché coming up!) that training is only about pushing back limits and that the circumstances of a race are entirely different than those of race day.
First, you don't do 42 km long runs during training because you would need an inordinate amount of time to recuperate between practice runs (shall we now have to taper before our long runs?). I don't do the walk-run scenario (only fartlek, which amounts to pretty much the same thing) but it's a technique that allows you to train almost every day if you wish.
Same thing could be said about hill repeats or intervals - they're shorter than race distance, but they do the job
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