Tuesday, July 5, 2011

View from the Back: Run-Walk-Running in Missoula

As the Missoula Marathon and Half approach, a hardy group of Missoulians is slowly and surely building toward those goals. Inspired by Jeff Galloway’s presentation at the Wilma in January, the Galloway training class has been meeting on Sundays and Wednesdays ever since.

Many members of the class were “fresh off the couch” when they began training on those snowy, icy, windy, dark days of winter. Some were new to running. Some had tried other marathon training programs and had fallen short of their goals. Some had a history of injury and wanted to explore Galloway’s low-mileage, low-intensity endurance training. Ages in the group ranged from 10 to well over 60 years of age. Many (though surely not all) would qualify for the Back of the Pack.

While building toward 13.1 or 26.2, the training class has used Galloway’s trademarked run-walk-run approach to distance. Trainees follow in cycles ranging from 20 seconds walk/60 seconds run to 4 minutes walk/1 minute run, depending on their current best pace at a mile’s distance. Although faster members can choose a higher run-walk ratio, Galloway insists that “there is no such thing as too slow for the long run.” He separates speed workouts from endurance training, and encourages ambitious competitors to add walk breaks on the long runs.

Since midwinter, long runs for the Galloway class have grown from 2 or 4 miles (half or full) to 13 or 26 miles three weeks before the race. As mileage increases, the recovery between long ones grows from one week to three. The basic Galloway midweek program calls for just two maintenance workouts of 15-45 minutes each. The structure of the program calls for building endurance slowly, with minimum weekly mileage and physical impact.

While most Galloway trainees in the Missoula class aim “to finish” their goal distance, a few also want to improve their time in the marathon or half. The Galloway program adds speed work to midweek and short-mileage weekends. It also calls for completing a final run of 14 or 29 miles, exceeding the target race distance to provide additional endurance in support of speed.

Jeff Galloway is a hero at the Back of the Pack. He is also a hero with competitive runners who are willing to try something different to build speed while reducing their likelihood of injury. You can “run-walk-run” wild!

Galloway will be in Missoula July 10 to run-walk-run the Missoula Marathon. He will also offer a 3-hour Running School on July 9, 3-6 pm at the Wilma. The cost is $99. You can register for the Running School at Jeff’s website. (The following link takes you directly to the order form) http://www.jeffgalloway.com/store/index.php/running-schools/running-school-class-jeff-galloway.html

~Pam Gardiner, Leader of the Back, backofpack@runwildmissoula.org

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