Why Run-Walk Training is a Good Thing...



By Amby Burfoot (outsideonline.com)

Jeff Galloway almost certainly holds the record for a run-walk marathon — he ran a 2:16:35 at Houston in 1980 while taking a brief walk break each mile. It’s also his personal record, and it came eight years after he made the 1972 Olympic team in the 10,000m.

In 1978 Galloway remembers hitting a low point in his training and racing. He had injuries, suffered through races far slower than his expectations, and began feeling “down” about his running. “I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I’ve reached the end of my improvement curve,’” he recalls. “I wallowed in my misery for a bit, and then realized I needed a different goal. I came up with a new personal mantra: ‘Run Injury Free.’” ...

To achieve this, he began to incorporate run-walk sessions in his training. “My next several years were just stellar,” he says. At that 1980 Houston Marathon, he ran to each mile marker, then pulled over to the side of the road for a walk break. “It was embarrassing at the time,” he admits. But it worked, producing to a PR, and proving the method is not just for inexperienced neophytes.

A few years earlier, in 1973, Galloway had  imposed an ironclad rule on his students in a beginning running course. He: “No huffing and puffing.” In other words, when you start feeling out of breath, stop running. Take a walk break.

That’s how it started. Since then, Galloway has spread the gospel of run-walk-run (as he calls it) to legions of runners, from beginners to aspiring sub-3:00 marathoners. His chief training officer, Chris Twiggs, says more than a million runners or walkers have interacted with Galloway in one form or another since 1973.  READ MORE