Every runner knows that walking during a run sort of feels like cheating. Runners only walk after they cross the finish line. Walking is often seen as a sign of weakness reserved for beginners, the injured and the defeated. After all, we call ourselves runners, not walkers. Right?

What should I do when I don’t feel like running?…walk!

Consider this: Jeff Galloway, former Olympic runner and professional running coach, ran his fastest ever marathon at the age of 35 coming in at a cool 2:16. He is now 74 years young with hundreds of marathons behind him and plenty more ahead. He hasn’t dealt with a running injury in over 40 years and has coached over 1 million runners to feel as great about running as he does.

His secret to his success?

Walking.

After returning from the navy, Jeff was out of (running) shape and was attending graduate school at Florida State University. He started training with a goal to qualify for the Olympic trials and was quickly introduced to the heat and humidity of the Southeast. Without taking walk breaks Jeff would literally start to hallucinate during his runs.

He found that taking a one-minute walk break after each mile he ran dramatically increased his ability to train for the Olympics. He did qualify for the Olympics in 1972 and went on to run the 10,000-meter race in Munich representing the U.S. Several years later, he was asked to create a training program for beginning runners. He implemented the “Run Walk Run” theory that he used to train for the Olympics. However, he underestimated the effect he would have not only on beginning runners, but many advanced runners around the world.

Why walking is for everyone

Walking isn’t just for beginners or people getting back into running shape. Since Jeff began his “Run Walk Run” campaign, his team has done studies on how taking short walk breaks can improve runners of nearly all levels. They have found that someone who hasn’t previously used the “Run Walk Run” method improves their marathon time by an average of thirteen minutes when they incorporate walk breaks. Oh, and that PR Jeff set at the age of 35? Yep. He even took several walk breaks during his best marathon.

But how? Why?

For Jeff, it’s all about the mental game. When he takes walk breaks (which can last anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds) he is able to focus his mind on how he’s running. He does a quick check to make sure he isn’t slumped forward, his strides are landing correctly, and his overall form is flawless. 

These short breaks have helped thousands of runners keep their energy up throughout long distance runs. Jeff also attributes his injury-free running career to this technique. Each break allows him time to refocus on race strategy, correct bad form, and give his legs a short break. Better form and less fatigue is the key to injury prevention. Short breaks from running make that possible. So, what are you waiting for? Start walking!

Having a positive running attitude

Jeff approaches running with an immense amount of positivity, which he mostly attributes to his parents. Just listening to Jeff’s voice gives you the impression that he could spend hours giving advice to any inquisitive runner. In fact, he spends 5 to 6 hours a day answering emails from his running students. 

In this podcast, Jeff relates two heart-warming stories that show his genuine spirit. After qualifying for the Olympic 10k, Jeff made it his personal goal to help his good friend Jack Bacheler qualify for the marathon event after Jack did not qualify for the 10k. Jeff paced Jack for that trial event and slowed down during the last few seconds to allow Jack to take the final spot on the team. Jeff Galloway also talks about his favorite student he ever had. That student went from only being able to run the distance between two telephone poles, to qualifying for Boston at the age of 75. (Listen to the podcast to find out who that student was. No spoilers!)

Approaching a race as you age is something Jeff has mastered. At some point everyone has to face the fact that their body can’t do what it once could. Joining a strong community of runners and having the attitude of “we’re all in this together” can help ease the transition. Jeff recommends changing your goals as you age. “I can focus on something else,” he says, “I can be injury free. I can enjoy every run. I can run with family and friends.”

Running (and walking) is for everyone. Coming to terms with how YOU run is important to experiencing lifelong running fulfillment. Being real with your own training and avoiding the comparison trap is crucial to being a healthy and successful runner. This is Running for Real. 

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:


Resources:

Last week’s episode with Lori Richmond 

Tina4Real Podcast 

Running for Real Superstars Community

Support Tina through her Patreon Page

Buy a Running for Real T-shirt, Tank, or Hat

Jeff’s Books:

The Walk Run Method

Marathon: You Can Do It!

Half Marathon: You Can Do it!

Running Until You Are 100

Mental Training for Runners

The Story of the Human Body By Daniel Lieberman

Jeff’s website

Jeff on Twitter

Jeff on Instagram

Run Disney

 

Thank you to Bombas and Bodyhealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

I absolutely LOVE these Bombas Socks, and I think it is SO COOL that they donate a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair you purchase (socks are the number one requested item from homeless shelters, but they cannot accept used pairs). Use code running4real at Bombas.com/running4real and you can get 20% off your first order!

Now I am back to training, guess what was the first thing I did to start making sure I recover quicker (as coming back to fitness really beats your body up!), yep, you guessed it, BodyHealth Perfect Amino! Get 10% off at Bodyhealth.com using coupon code TINA10

Click the banner for more information.

Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

To share your thoughts:

Leave a note in the comment section below.

Join the Running for Real Facebook Group and share your thoughts on the episode (or future guests you would like to hear from)

Share this show on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews will really help me climb up the iTunes rankings and I promise, I read every single one.

Subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

Not sure how to leave a review or subscribe, you can find out here.

Thank you to Jeff, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

Related Posts

2 Comments.

  • Joseph Emmanuel
    November 5, 2018 1:41 am

    Very interesting chat with Jeff, I could not help but see some similarities between his approach and the MAF method (which I’m using successfully). My only question/comment is the idea of over training, yes intuitively makes sense to train longer than your intended race, BUT, I also follow an LCHF diet and whilst I’m still building up to my first 1/2 marathon, as a 50+ year old male I cycle 50Km’s or so with no gel required, only water maybe a handful of almonds,
    Volek & Phinney amongst others have shown that ‘hitting the wall’ doesn’t genererally happen to properly adapted fat burning athletes.
    Be great to hear your comments and maybe Jeff’s on this topic.

    Thanks
    Joe

  • Jeffrey J. Kicia
    November 12, 2018 8:17 am

    Excellent article,analysis,and summation on the walking benefits, and the correlation on running. I have always believed in this physical method and its astounding results. Jeffrey Galloway is a pioneer on the theory of running, and his Olympic Games experience with Wottle,Shorter,Prefontaine,etc. states it all from 1972. (Former Professional & World Class Athlete, M.S., double B.A., Armed Forces Veteran of the United States (Two-Honorable Discharges), Business Owner&Employer, and Political Candidate)

Menu