Friday, October 22, 2010

A quick run and walk with Jeff Galloway

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Galloway here in Gainesville. He came to town to announce the start of a Gainesville based Galloway run-walk program with the goal race being the Run with Donna half in Jax in the Spring. He started his afternoon at Gainesville Running and Walking in Tioga Town Center, where he did a run/walk of about 2 and a half miles with a group of some 30 runners. Later he came to the Florida Track Club meeting and shared stories, wisdom, advice, and some laughs with us about his decades-long running career (including as a founding member of the Florida Track Club and colleagues with the likes of Frank Shorter and Jack Bacheler).

Having not seen him talk before, I don't know how many of these stories are common ones for him to tell but some of the things he discussed or opined on include:

  • What's the fastest competitor you've ever had improve their time with run-walk?
    • Improvement from 2:32 to 2:28
  • What's the ideal post-run snack?
    • 80% carbs, 20% protein
  • What about ice baths?
    • Ice is cruel but a bath at 20 degrees below body temp lasting 15 minutes with 3 hours of finishing will speed recovery
  • What's up with barefoot/minimalist running?
    • It has come and gone 5 times during his running career and is a great way for rookies to get seriously injured, but might help some people if used judiciously
  • What's the best way to improve time?
    • Based on thousands of runners, increasing the distance of the long run! Jeff estimates that increasing the long run from 20 to 26 will cut time by an average of 15 minutes and further increasing to 29 will cut another 11 minutes!
  • What do you recommend for speedwork?
    • For marathoners: Mile repeats at 30 seconds below race pace with 5 minute walk breaks
    • For half marathoners: 800 yd repeats at same speed with 3 minute walk breaks
    • For both, build up to 14 repeats
  • What about stretching?
    • There is no evidence that stretching prevents injury for distance runners and some evidence that it is harmful. Therefore, he does not recommend it as a routine practice (I've got a future post coming about one such study, sponsored by the USATF)
    • There is evidence for stretching prior to sprinting, football, and other high-injury risk sports
  • Your run-walk programs only call for 3 days a week of running, is that enough?
    • Tony Sandoval won the trials for the 1980 Olympic Games, which the US boycotted, during the following year, he was an medical intern and only ran three days a week, or about 35 miles a week and maintained endurance enough to finish in 2:14 at a Nike Oregon Track Club event.
  • How is running slow on the long run supposed to help me run faster on race day?
    • Jeff observed that over 25 elite Kenyan runners that he has interviewed all start their long training runs around 10 min/mile and never go faster than 3-4 mins above race pace, typically about 8:30. He said he didn't feel the need to question the wisdom of these runner's strategy.
  • What is the benefit of run-walk on recovery?
    • Jeff usually runs marathons at a :30/:30 ratio, finishing in 4:45 to 5:00 and then has enough energy and minimal soreness such that he can continue to walk all afternoon if need be. He never spends Sunday afternoon collapsed on the couch or in bed napping for recovery. (ed note: really? awesome!)
  • Other Observations
    • Expect to lose 0:30 per mile for each 5 degrees over 60
    • Identifying goal pace is CRUCIAL and if done correctly can reduce the rate of injury to nearly zero
  • Random wisdom
    • Our PE instructors and coaches ingrained into us as young children that walking during a run was tantamount to admitting failure and anyone who did so is a loser, so it is no wonder that we so strongly resist the urge, when it has such benefit!

So, those are the notes I took. I really enjoyed the talk. I found Jeff gracious and willing to stick around for quite some time after the event signing things and answering everyone's questions. His career and the run-walk method could obviously fill several books of text, but this is how it went down in Gainesville on Tuesday the 19th!

I've got a video I'm going to post later, so stay tuned for more.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Dave! Jeff's excellent books were instrumental in my successfully started in marathoning six-years ago, and I'm indebted to him. Nevertheless, I've been loath to incorporate a run-walk approach in to my marathon pacing strategy (though should I ever show-up inadequately trained for a particular marathon or 50K event I would definitely do so). I also appreciate Jeff's view concerning the 0:30 slow-down for every 5-degrees above 60F. While I think that's a bit exaggerated (and at minimum should include the dew-point) it's good to have the upper-end bracketed.