Jeff Galloway, I Never Should Have Left You

I used the Jeff Galloway run/walk interval method for the whole first year of my training and did the Princess Half last year using five minute run, one minute walk intervals.  And then, after I recovered, I spent the spring and summer building up my endurance so I could run without any walk intervals.  It helped me get my 5k time under 30 minutes and I really enjoyed the zoning out I could find when I wasn’t having to change up my pace during the long runs.

And let me be completely honest.  While I completely and absolutely respect and admire everyone who gets out there and walks, runs or any combination from start to finish, my ego doesn’t like taking walk breaks.  Some people who don’t race consider run/walk intervals to be somehow “less than” and can belittle the accomplishment of covering 3.1, 6.1, 9.3, 13.1 or 26.2 miles by saying “well, it’s not like you ran the whole thing” or “anyone can do that”.  I know it’s not true, but as a non-skinny (and not yet completely comfortable in my own skin) runner, I am much too sensitive to the real and perceived criticism and judgment.  And I still feel like I have to prove that I’m fast enough and strong enough and more than just a size 12.

Wine & Dine and Space Coast both went great with a straight run (with photo stops, water walk breaks and potty breaks).  And my ego really enjoyed being able to do the straight run.  I proved that I could do it and do it in a time that made me happy.  But, since Space Coast, all my long runs have been slogs.  I don’t think a single one has felt fun.  And the Tink Half was terrible.

Reading several different bloggers’ accounts of the amazing things they’ve accomplished using the Galloway run/walk intervals made me decide to officially reintroduce intervals into my training.  And I’ll be running the Princess 10k and Half using intervals.  And my ego can “suck it up buttercup”.  Jeff Galloway qualified for Boston using his own interval method and I just want to hug him for that.  It gave those of us less mature and less secure runners a comeback for any snarky comments (again the majority of the snarky comments were imagined, very few people actually said anything, it’s mostly in my own silly head).

So this weekend, I managed to get in a 3 mile walk on Saturday and a 9 mile run on Sunday in preparation for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  I did five minute run/ one minute walk intervals for the whole run and while there were some moments around mile 4-5 where I was tired and wanted to quit, I found my second wind and turned my planned 8 miler into a 9 miler.  And I’m so happy with it.

Here’s my 3 mile walk stats:

My long time readers may know that it’s hard for me to “just” walk.  I normally love running and find just a fitness walk to be super boring.  And, I tend to somehow talk myself into working in some running during a scheduled walk.  And then I overdo it and get injured (or skip my actual run).  So, my secret trick to prevent myself from cheating and running is to wear a regular bra.  No sports bra.  And I am generously endowed, so running in a regular bra is basically impossible.  If a bear was chasing me, I might be able to run, but I’d be holding the girls down with my arms while I ran!  My plan worked and I’m really happy with my walk pace.

Today’s 9 mile run stats (5/1 intervals):

Working in the walk intervals barely slowed me down at all.  And I felt good.  I could have gone further.  Yay!

So, I’m finally shaking off my Tink funk.  I have a plan for GSC, 5/1 intervals for training and the race.  Next weekend I’m going to walk 6 miles on Saturday and run 12 on Sunday and then it’s time for taper-town.

Jeff Galloway, I’m so sorry I left you.  I may not always use run/walk intervals but they have a place in my toolbox and I’ll be using them proudly this month!


Jeff Galloway, I Never Should Have Left You — 37 Comments

  1. Love intervals! I literally would not be able to run without them. My body is fine, but my breathing isn’t, so I need the walk breaks. Right now I work at a 1/1, but when I build endurance finally I hope to run longer.

    • I always feel like my breathing is fine on my runs and then I stop for a walk and realize I’m just huffing and puffing! I think Galloway does really short intervals and he’s super fast!

  2. I’m a big fan of intervals! I especially like to see when people who are full runners throw them back in and discover, hey, it didn’t slow me that much at all! 😉 Of course, I walk REALLY slowly, so it’s not a huge help to me. lol

    • It is amazing. The only reasons for me to do a straight run are that I do get “in the zone” better on a straight run and also my ego is really big and you know, everyone is constantly judging me if I take a walk break (only kind of kidding, sadly). So, for now, I’m going to grow up just a little and try the walk intervals again. They worked great today!

  3. April, I am right along with you. But the more expereinced I get, the more I realize that you don’t have to run straight through. The run/walk works, and now that I do marathons I am more then willing people to shut up if they tell me I am not a real runner.

    • I cannot even imagine doing a full marathon without walk intervals. Ok, ok, I can’t fathom a full marathon right now unless I’m on a bike or car, haha. Awesome job!

  4. First off (and this has nothing to do with the post) but YOU WERE AT THE W&D MEETUP? Why didn’t I know this?

    Okay, now that I got that out – I am right there with you, sister. In fact, I started flat out running, with not many intervals. I’ve found that the Galloway makes my body work so much BETTER, during both training runs and races. My energy is evenly distributed through the run and it just makes sense. I’d love to just RUN RUN RUN but often times I get exhausted half way through. I love being able to persevere through the run.

    • Yep, I totally lucked into getting into that last, wonderful meetup. Work meeting, new iphone, set twitter up during the meeting to check a work thing (I can only check the local newspaper through twitter for strange reasons) and wham, the meetup tweet was like three down on my feed! It was fun. I wish I was more outgoing to have met more people, but I had a great time with Meg and Adrienne.

      I really did feel pretty strong after nine miles today and so I am hoping that the intervals will make PHM and GSC much more fun than Tink was! And if it makes me faster, that’s just a bonus!

    • I got an email the day before the meetup saying that they had someone who wasn’t able to make it so I was TOTALLY last minute. I feel really fortunate, especially now that they aren’t doing the meetups in that capacity any longer! We’ll just have to do a meetup of our own if we wind up at the same race (which will happen, obviously!).

  5. I read this twice and then read it again. I’m really struggling with this and I know I NEED to try intervals but all I keep thinking is that it’s going to slow me down…which is ridiculous since I keep injuring myself and that is what is slowing me down! When I walked a bit each mile the other day when I did five, my knees were MUCH better. I have already planned to do walk breaks during the race, I want to finish upright and I want to enjoy each moment and I can’t do that if I’m in severe pain b/c I refuse to walk. I think and I also need to do a long run with intervals before then so I can prove to myself that it’s not going to slow me down that much. It’s interesting, I was just telling Rey the other day that I felt like training has not been as enjoyable as I imagined. I LOVE to run and lately my runs have been not fun or what I know they can be, I’m constantly focused on the pain and pushing myself more and I have lost sight of why I love to run. Thanks, you seem to have a knack for posting just what I need to read…exactly why I call you twinkie! 😉 I think I’ll read it again.

    • ((Hugs)) Karen! The intervals do help a LOT with the monotony of a long run. Just knowing that you’ve got a walk break coming up is a relief when you’re getting tired. And if that watch is beeping at you to get moving on the run portion again, it’s almost like a reflex to speed it up again. I know I wouldn’t have made it to the finish at PHM last year without the Galloway intervals. I’m just way too prone to injury! I hope this makes you feel better about doing scheduled intervals. If you can, check out Jeff’s talks at the Expo. He is awesome, and real and approachable and gives some great tips during those talks. It is especially important to do the intervals from the start of the run, if you wait until something hurts or you’re tired, you don’t get nearly the benefit.

    • Thanks April! I found an app that will beep over my music for 5/1 and plan to try it next weekend for my last longish run. It is interesting to read all your replies and see a lot of correlation with pushing to not walk and getting injured.

  6. This is something I have been struggling back and forth with for awhile now. For a long time I have felt like I can only do a half marathon if I do intervals. That is how I have always done it, and that is how I like it. BUT I have been *stuck* for a couple years now. Just not really making progress so I tried to switch to running straight and ended up injured. Now I’m not sure how I want to proceed.

    • The intervals really do help prevent injury. I know Jeff is pretty fast with his intervals. My plan is to use intervals for any run over a 10k for sure. And I’m going to do speed training to try to get faster even with the intervals. I know Jeff talks a lot about finding the R/W interval that works best for you, have you experimented with changing the interval ratio up? Good luck and I hope your injury is better!

  7. I am so glad that I read this! I have been running less than a year but started out with intervals and once I got up to a 5k I felt like I needed to stop intervals to improve my time. Plus, people started in with the “Oh, you run/walk?” and otherwise making me feel like a loser for doing intervals. Of course I’ve injured myself trying to straight run… Now that I’m training for the Wine and Dine half, I’m going back to intervals.

    • That “oh, you run/walk” comment drives me nuts! Now we can all tell them “Jeff Galloway qualified for Boston using the run/walk method” and see what they have left to say! 🙂 Good luck on your Wine & Dine training. Hope to see you there!

  8. My very first running group did walk/run with timed intervals, but I sort of got away from the timed aspect when I started running on my own. I’d probably be faster if I brought back some structure. Now I just walk when I get tired of running or start hurting. I try to keep the walk faster than a 16 min mile, but sometimes I’ll look at my Garmin and notice that I’m moseying along at 17+.

    • My BFF from high school has always been a super fast walker, so I learned to walk fast just to keep up with her, haha. I find that if I do structured run/walk intervals from the start then my walk intervals are a good pace, but if I wait to take walk breaks when I’m already tired, then my walk pace is much slower.

  9. This was so great.I struggle with this also. I ran a half in October – and got a PR – running 5 and 1 intervals. I’d never done that before – and it felt amazing! I switched to 10 and 1 intervals around 13k.
    It’s better for my body – and it’s faster for me, I think. I went back to training 10 minute intervals, but I got sick and switched back. I’m thinking for Princess I may try run 5 minutes, walk 30 seconds. I was doing that on my run today and it felt good. I’ll try again on my long run next weekend.
    By the way – I think you look great! I’m not, never have been, and never will be a size 0.

    • Awh, thanks so much for your kind words! I’d love to get back to a size six or so (I was there ever so briefly pre-kids back in the 90’s) but mainly I want to be healthy and to be able to be as active as I want to (hiking the Grand Canyon, sliding on the playground with my kids)! I think experimenting with your intervals is a great idea. I find the 5/1 works great for me, but I need to remember to shake it up sometimes and try something new. Good luck at Princess, come over and say hi if you see me!!

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve got a Garmin Forerunner 10, so I’m kind of like Pavlov’s dog with those beeps, switching from walk to run. I think if I relied on songs, I’d zone out and miss the change over! That’s a great pace!!

  10. I swear by the run/walk method! The walking in between allows for enough muscle recovery to keep me going. I used to try to run the entire distance, but I found that I lost more time that way and was completely drained halfway through. Hopefully, using run/walk for the GSC will help shake that Tink Funk! I know you will do awesome!

    • Thanks so much. I have a ton of respect for everyone else who walks, walk/runs, runs, wheelchairs, or crawls across that finish line, now I need to extend that same acceptance and respect to myself!

  11. Your bra trick had me laughing out loud! Very creative! Of course, on SOME of us, it just wouldn’t matter. 🙂 I have been sold on intervals from an early stage in my training and LOVE them. It’s a mental thing – I run one mile, then walk a minute. If I get tired, I tell myself that it’s just a mile. That little break is enough to get me through.

    • Haha, Amy! Having those built in walk intervals as a break really makes the miles go by easier and faster. And I find it doesn’t really impact my pace much at all. Looking forward to seeing you at PHM!

    • Thanks, you know I love The Doctor. 🙂 Glad that your injury is continuing to get better. Your crazy obstacle course based training is so impressive!

  12. I constantly struggle with the percieved stigma of interval running, especially because my two friends that I runDisney with are both straight runners and faster than me. I just continue to remind myself that a couple years ago I couldn’t have run a mile if I wanted to, and now I’m doing 13.1 at a time- it doesn’t matter HOW I get there, as long as I get there! I actually just dropped my intervals from 3:1 to 2:1, and find that I’m actually doing a faster mile than I was before and finishing stronger.

    • I think the stigma can be pretty self imposed (at least in my case) and somehow Jeff qualifying for Boston using his run/walk method has helped me shed that self-criticism. And your attitude is awesome! You are doing amazing and have a lot to be proud of!!

  13. I use Galloway’s training plan, but I don’t do the intervals. I am starting to have knee pain (of course with PHM 3 weeks away), and I wondered if I should have tried them from the start to keep injuries down. I may try them when I train for my next half to see how my body responds.

    • The intervals are really good for preventing injury and healing from injury. Instead of the same exact motion for 3, 6, 13, 26 miles, you shift it up constantly which gives those weaker or inflamed areas a mini-break to recover while you’re running/walking. I’d love to hear how they work for you if you decide to give them a try! Good luck at PHM and I hope that your knee feels better soon!

    • I think I might do a whole series of 10 memes. Galloway is great, I am convinced it is why my injury prone self was able to finish PHM last year! Good luck on getting healed up and back to running!

  14. My medal is the same as everyone else’s and the only way I ever finish is run/walk. Sure, anyone CAN do it, but it doesn’t count unless you actually DO it and I have the medals to prove I did 😉 Don’t let your ego get in the way- you’re a rockstar no matter what!

    and I LOVE your trick for making yourself walk. That’s amazing.

  15. Any blog post with a photo of David Tennant is a good blog post! 🙂 Glad you returned to your Gallo-ways… 😉 I couldn’t do the distances that I do without him!