I’ve always been intrigued by the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk method. I have had various times in my 8-year running career googled it to find out more. I have followed Jeff Galloway training plans in the past for different races – but without utilizing the run/walk method. I was curious though if applying the run/walk method might help me shave minutes off my half and full marathon times. I think my ego always got in the way of me giving it a go. Real runners run the whole thing right? Or at least until they hit the wall and have to walk.
Then came Boston last year. My training had not been very focused leading up to the race. I arrived in Boston underprepared only to learn that I would also be contending with near-90 degree temps on race day. In fact the mercury so alarmed race officials that they were encouraging runners to defer their entries til next year. Tempting, but like most runners I opted to run the race anyway, seeing as I was there and had already spent a ton of money getting to Boston and staying for the weekend.
I knew we were in for some fun when we were sweating to death just standing in the athlete’s village waiting for our wave to be called. After a couple miles into the course I knew that there was no way I was going to cross that finish line without a serious modification to my race plan. I made the decision to use run walk intervals. I started with 10min run/1 min walk intervals, but quickly decided that was a little too ambitious and shifted to 5 min run/run 30-60second walk. Despite experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, I managed to stick pretty close to my intervals and cross the finish line in a little over 5 hours. A far cry from the 3:47 that qualified me for the race, but I was still thrilled considering the conditions and the number of runners I saw dropping out along the way.
I honestly believe I owe my Boston Marathon finisher medal to the run/walk method. Without it I would have likely been carried off the course in a gurnee on that sweltering day.
Recently I have begun using the Run/Walk method in training. I threw my back out bending over in early January, shortly before I was do run a destination 1/2 marathon in Phoenix. After having to scratch my trip and about a month of rehab, I was eager to start running again, but knew I had lost a significant amount of cardio fitness, and wanted to be smart about easing back in. I decided the Run/Walk method would be the best way to get started. ChiRunning and ChiWalking lend themselves nicely to smoothly transitioning between the two techniques. After a couple of successful weeks of run/walk workouts, I have decided to stick with the method to train for my next half mary in early May. I am curious to see if the run/walk method can not only help me to ease back into training after a layoff, but also if it can help me to improve my overall race times.
My last half mary was in September with a time of 1:57, my PR in the distance came 2 years ago at a 1:44. I would like to come in somewhere between the two for this race, maybe 1:50? I will keep you posted on my progress.
I would love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with the run/walk technique. If you are interested in learning more about the Galloway method or the ChiWalkRun technique. Follow these links: