Runner learns new tricks


By Fred Deckert


You can teach an old runner new tricks! That was the assumption Jeff Galloway made when he promoted his walk/run program on Friday night at his seminar before Springtime 10K. According to other witnesses, including myself, he made some converts on Saturday. I must admit that even though I have used this technique when I haven’t had the mileage base for a run, I always felt that when I started walking it was an admission of defeat. This assumption has been successfully challenged.
Galloway’s primary point was that running perhaps 5 minutes and walking one or any reasonable facsimile thereof allows you to gain the required mileage for marathon and other distance training without undue stress or fatigue. He then extended that to actually doing it during marathons and other distance races, citing examples of people who actually ran faster than during efforts where they ran continually. The reasoning is that they overextended themselves early in the race and were so fatigued before the end that they lost any ability to run fast. With the walk-run procedure they had the ability to run hard for the later portions of the race, and did not lose much time due to the walk phase.

Whether you agree to the premise or not, having the option to walk/run on your off days or longer runs is an intriguing idea. I noticed more people than usual putting it into practice at Springtime. This may have been especially noticeable to me because I had probably my worst race effort ever, and was forced to use the technique whether I wanted to or not! Originally I had intended to walk some of the hills, especially the harder ones, but I found myself making mountains of molehills so to speak, just to excuse my frequent walk breaks. However, my experience was not typical, several folks I talked to claimed excellent results from using the 5/1 ratio and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.

So, the moral of the story is that this too, may be a good thing for you to experiment with, Galloway certainly has the credentials and data to back his claims that it’s a worthwhile idea.