The runDisney runners out there probably already know about the Galloway way (named for Jeff Galloway). I’ve also heard it called Gallowalking. From the runDisney website:
Jeff’s quest for the injury-free marathon training program led him to develop group training programs in 1978, and to author Runner’s World articles which have been used by hundreds of thousands of runners of all abilities. His training schedules have inspired the second wave of marathoners who follow the Galloway run-walk, low mileage, three-day, suggestions to an over 98% success rate.
Injury-free. Runners of ALL abilities. Less fatigue. SUCCESS. It’s no surprise that Jeff Galloway is the official training consultant for runDisney and designs the official training plans for the races with a method like that and the success it has had. He also trains tons of runners every year, writes books and for magazines, speaks… I could probably go on. I won’t. You can read all about it here though. He’s BIG time though and he knows his ish.
When I did my first half marathon, my only goal was to run the whole thing. I felt pretty confident that I could finish even though I’d never run more than a 10k at the time I signed up. I knew I only needed the required 16 minute pace and that felt doable. What I didn’t think I could do was run it. The whole thing. No walking. That’s what runners do, right??
Well, I managed to do just that.
The following year, I came into the half with an injury. I’d sprained my foot on my final training run just a few days before the race. I was cleared by a doctor to run if I wanted (I WANTED), but to “be smart.” Smart for me meant giving myself permission to not run the whole race like I had the year before. I figured I’d feel it out and do what felt best. I ended up doing a somewhat haphazard run/walk method. Run to the light. Walk to the stop sign. Walk through the aid station. Run past the mariachi band. And so on and so forth until I finished with a time almost 10 minutes faster than the year before.
As much as I saw the improvement in my time, I still felt like I couldn’t be a “real” runner if I walked. Since that half, I’ve done a little bit of both. Some runs all running. Some runs with a combination. In all that time, I don’t think I realized runDisney had training plans (true story). I had used other training plans and while I knew who Galloway was, I didn’t know about his method. Somewhere along the way, I learned of it (I suppose it was inevitable in the rD community). But, I’d still never tried it.
I’m trying it now: the methods and the training plans.
I’ve slightly adapted his plans for Princess and Pixie Dust to fit my own schedule, but by in large, I plan to use them as is. Plus, I know now that “real” runners can walk too. Jeff Galloway himself uses the method he recommends.
I’m still playing with the intervals (there are several options for my speed) to see what feels best for me. I find that equal parts running and walking, without being too short, seems to be best right now. I tried 20/20, but I found that the walk break wasn’t enough to recover me so my speed decreased on the run part. I’m liking 30/30, but have had mixed results.
In general though, it’s easier for me to push myself hard knowing that I get a break. I think I can find more overall speed if I keep with this method. I’ll be sure to report back.