Jeff Galloway changed my life.
Nope, he’s not my dad, my husband, or my hair stylist. He’s an Olympian and a marathon runner, and he developed the Run-Walk-Run method – a training program that allows regular people like me to complete marathons. I’m no expert, but I thought I’d give you a crash course on what it’s all about. For the record, this blog isn’t sponsored by or affiliated with the Galloway program (hey, Jeff, are you listening? will work for GU). I’m just really passionate about the program because I know firsthand that it works.
In a nutshell, Run-Walk-Run is exactly what you think it is. First you run, then you walk, and then you run some more. It’s interval training, based on your individual goals and abilities. The concept is that taking walk breaks helps prevent injury and fatigue. In theory, Run-Walkers will complete races on par with traditional runners of comparable abilities. Traditional runners start out strong but may lose steam (and speed) as a race progresses; whereas Run-Walkers are less fatigued as the mileage increases, allowing them to maintain a steadier pace throughout a long run.
The Magic Mile
What I love about the Galloway program is that it’s designed for runners of all abilities, even complete beginners. Runners are placed in small groups based on their “Magic Mile.” Your Magic Mile time is the fastest you can possibly run a mile without puking (this is actually in the written instructions). Pace groups range all the way from sub-6:30 (the “Fasties”) to 16:00+ (the Walkers). Pace groups have leaders, who time the runs and the pre-set run-walk intervals.
Jeff Galloway even has a Magic Mile Race Predictor, where you can plug in your Magic Mile time and predict your 5K, Half-Marathon, and Marathon performance. It’s a great way to see if your goals correspond with your abilities. When I plug my most recent Magic Mile time (9:20) into the calculator, it predicts that I will run a marathon in 5:17:54. It’s fairly accurate – in February I completed my marathon in 5:34:44.
If you’ve ever considered running but didn’t think you were fit or fast enough, this is a great way to do it! This program really is for everyone. Okay, maybe not rock star runners like my dad, who back in the 1970′s ran a 4:26 mile and can still totally outrun me at 60+ years old! But for regular folks like us – busy moms, perhaps with a few extra pounds to lose, whose primary source of exercise is lifting a 50 pound stroller in and out of the minivan. Real moms like you and me. There are training groups all over the country – check out this list and see if there’s one near you.