If you are training for your first half marathon or full marathon, and you are a little intimated by the distance, check out the Galloway Method – Run Walk Run method. You would be surprised how many people have successfully used a run/walk/run combination to complete their races and meet time goals.
Jeff Galloway, a 1972 Olympian in the 10k, developed his run/walk/run program to help runners successfully conquer distances that had once intimidated them. His method is much like an interval workout, but the speed component would be your run interval and your rest interval would be a walk break.
Walk Breaks Make Longer Distances More Enjoyable
His thought process (which I definitely think is true!) is that it makes running a longer distance more enjoyable. Instead of pushing yourself to the point of extreme fatigue, the walk intervals allow you to conserve your energy and finish the distance. By taking walk breaks, you also help to prevent your body core from overheating.
My Experience With the Run/Walk Method
Although I haven’t followed a Galloway plan entirely for a race, I have taken walk breaks when I needed them during longer distances like the half marathon. I used to refuse to take walk breaks during runs or races, not because of fear of what others thought, but because I thought I wouldn’t be able to start again!
However, I have started to take them if needed during long runs and more recently at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. The walk breaks in that particular race occurred on the steep hills and were key in me finishing the race under two hours. I have no doubt that if I hadn’t taken them, I wouldn’t have finished that race, and definitely not under 2 hours!
Benefits of the Galloway Method
After digging a little deeper into Galloway’s website, I found some interesting statistics on his run/walk/run method:
- The Galloway Method can help you speed up. Runners ran an average of 7 minutes faster in a 13.1-mile race when they shifted to the correct Run Walk Run ratio – and more than 13 minutes faster in the marathon
- Run/walk training for longer distances can help speed recovery
- Run/walking allows older or heavier runners to recover faster and feel better during and after runs.
Given the above facts, why not give it a try when you train for your next half marathon or marathon?
Have you used the Galloway Run Walk Run method in training or racing? If so, what was your experience like?
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