Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Does the Jeff Galloway method really work?

I love running the Jeff Galloway method. Why? Because I'm faster, stronger and injury-free. That's why!

The Jeff Galloway Run,Walk, Run method is about balance. Or maybe in today's fitness terms, it's a HIIT workout that just doesn't quit. (HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training)

For all of you non-runners and non-Galloway people out there... the Galloway Method gives you a starting point, helps you to find your path to fitness and keeps you going. Galloway says, okay, you can run for 30 seconds? Great! Do that and then walk for a minute. Then run for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds and repeat.  In fact, this is his plan for the 16 minute per mile group. If you can run faster than that, well, then run longer and walk less. But DON'T stop the walk breaks.

For more information, check out his pace chart here.

In fact, for people thinking about running, I think Galloway's plan is ideal because it keeps you moving longer. Sure, many of us at our most unfit state could push through a mile. But without a plan, we are going to HURT later and have to take off days to recover before we try again. Galloway says, stop doing that to yourself! Just get out there and move.

Two years ago when I started running, I didn't know what to do, so I tried the couch to 5k plan to start, but it was hard and the expectation that within seven weeks I'd be able to run for 30 minutes straight was disheartening! Instead, I'd run as far as I could, then walk and then run till I couldn't breathe and so forth. My mile pace was an average of 14 minutes per mile. I can't imagine how much more successful I would have felt if I had been doing a 30 sec run/ 30 sec walk pattern from the start!

But thankfully, just three months into my new running lifestyle, I made some incredible friends with ladies who run using Galloway. They did a 3 min run/1 min walk. I was SCARED TO DEATH to try to run with them. And at first is was tough. But I did it and quickly was able to keep up! .

What I learned from the group was that by having the consistent breaks, I could push harder during the 3 minutes of running because I knew I'd get a walk break! My pace got better and I have to say, looking back at my stats, I am so proud of myself because truly, just three months into running, I logged a 5 mile run at a 10:54 pace!

What I have found over the last two years is that I'm confident in who I am enough to say that YES, I am interval runner. That I can and do take consistent walk breaks so that I can run stronger and faster. And most importantly, to those people out there that believe and say that if I take a walk break, I'm not a runner... the proof is at the finish line! Sure, I can run an entire 5k or 10k and probably even a 1/2 marathon. But why should I do that to my body when I can take a short walk break, catch my breath, run faster, finish stronger and not have the horrible recovery?

Don't believe me? These are a few of my real life stats from May. I didn't include all of it, cause remember I did a 1/2 marathon a couple of weeks ago and was training and tapering for that.

The important thing to notice here is that the slowest time I have for this distance.. was when I DIDN'T take the consistent walk breaks! 

Nothing like feeling like a REAL runner and have a SLOWER time!

So for all of you fence-sitters out there who are wondering when I will "work up to running all the time" I can tell you that I'm not planning on it!  Jeff Galloway has qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times using his run/walk/run plan and while I'm not trying to get my times down to Boston times, I do consider myself a "real" runner even with the walk breaks!

In two years I've gone from being a 14 minute miler to an consistent 9 minute miler and even more importantly, I haven't been hurt!

I'm excited about the future... in another 2 years could I be a 7 minute miler?  hmm.. for my age group to qualify for Boston, I'd have to run a 3:45 marathon. That's an 8:34 pace. My lone marathon time is a 12:05 pace.. guess I better get to work if I want to go to Boston! :)

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