Sunday, September 18, 2016

Galloway Run-Walk Strategy

I've tried many marathon and ultra training programs. My own (many versions), friend's plans, Coach Jeff (from down the street), Hansons, Maffetone, Mittleman, FIRST, Higdon, and others. Now I'm turning to Jeff Galloway...the dude known for his run-walk plans. I recently bought his "Boston Marathon: How to Qualify" book (used for $1.07). I've had a couple of his other more famous books and found them interesting, particularly "Galloway's Book on Running." As an ultrarunner, I've always embraced the value of walking in both training and racing. But I saved it more for hills (any size!) instead of regular walking in my daily runs. Galloway insists on walking breaks from the beginning to end of your runs (the specific run-walk technique depends on your level of fitness and goals).

This Jeff Galloway "Qualify for Boston" program has several features I'll implement:

  • Acceleration gliders (strides)
  • Long runs (really long, peaking at 29 miles for the marathon)
  • 2-mile intervals (peaking at 7x2-miles)
  • Hill accelerations (hill repeats)
  • Cadence drills (form work, running economy) 
  • Lots of walking breaks (in almost all runs)
And he provides paces for these efforts. Paces are based on your "magic mile" test runs (after warming up and doing strides, run 1 mile really hard). He has you repeat these throughout training--about once every 3 weeks. This 1-mile time will predict your marathon pace (x 1.3) and determine speed and long runs paces too. Your long runs will be VERY slow (2 minutes slower than goal marathon pace). My goal time to qualify for Boston is 3:30. My long runs are meant to be at about 10:00 pace. My magic mile test should be 6:05 if I want to run a 3:30 marathon. 

His 30-week program incorporates 4 runs/week. Little or no cross-training. Little or no weights. Virtually no stretching. Foam rolling is good. Galloway really stresses full recovery between all runs. If you reduce injuries (by frequent walking breaks and rest days) then you become a more consistent and better runner. I think this program will allow me to do really long runs (and even a marathon or 50K race) while still including some speed and other efficiency work (hills, strides, cadence drills). Will this get me to Boston? I don't know. It will provide structure and a new strategy. Walking is no longer bad. Or the sign of a weak runner. Walking is required in my new Galloway program! I believe this will get me ready for a marathon...and almost any ultra. We shall see.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Eight Day Run Streak

A week ago I decided to screw my illness and go for a run. I had missed almost 3 weeks of running due to a cold. That run was fairly pathetic. Short and slow with lots of coughing. I spit out disgusting phlegm. But it started something good. It turns out whatever I had (and still have) was a fairly nasty "cold"--doctor diagnosed "acute bronchitis" and prescribed antibiotics last Friday. I'm starting to feel better. In fact, I now have an 8-day run streak going! I still don't feel great, but I'm in a better place than a week ago. If I can keep running, and keep healing, I might be back to "normal" in another week or so. And that 50 mile trail race in mid-November will actually be possible.

I'm not sure I'll try to extend this running streak to 10 days, 30 days, 60 days, or up to Tunnel Hill 50 miler (73 day streak). For now it feels good to run each morning and see how it goes. I've tried running streaks in the past and never gotten past 100 days without injury. If I can knock off  another week of consistent daily running, I'll be happy. Very happy. Then I can start a more structured training program with a longer run each week and some type of speed work each week. Plus a day or two completely off for rest and recovery. For's one day at a time. The doxycycline seems to be working and my chest is basically clear from congestion and mucus. Still a little sinusy, but not too bad. I actually sleep all night. Feels great to wake up rested and be ready to go! The human body is pretty amazing...especially with a little help from modern medicine.

My current run streak is only eight days. Not 80. Not 800. Not even ten. But it feels like I have an infinite number of runs in my future. That would be a long run streak. Infinity. For now, I'll settle on 9. One day, one run.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 1 Starts My Comeback!

I ran today. Only a slow 3 miles, but it was better than nothing. And nothing has been my routine the last 3 weeks. After the Howl at the Moon race, I caught a cold and it's been with me for too long. I'm still sick, but I can't wait to be healthy. Run now or never run again! This is the beginning of a run streak and my comeback that will culminate in the Tunnel Hill 50 mile ultra on November 12. Running a 50 miler when I'm 50 years old...and shooting for a personal record at that distance. Good to have goals. No plan to reach those goals, but that's OK. For now, I'll settle on another 3 miles tomorrow. Eventually 4 miles, then 5 miles. One baby step at a time. And finally, 50 miles in a single run.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


After two very bad race experiences in just two weeks, a marathon and an ultra, it's time to rest and recover. And apparently my body agrees. I came down with a nasty cold just a couple of days after the Howl at the Moon ultra. I've now logged many zero days as I try to stop a runny nose and congested cough. Your body will eventually force you to rest. If you don't balance work and play or running and recovery, then your body will do it for you. And it won't be fun. I've been dragging for more than 10 days now.

Once I get over this illness, I'll slowly get back to regular running. My next race is Tunnel Hill 50 miler in mid-November. Just less than 80 days to go. Plenty of time to recover, get healthy, and become fit. I'll be fine. I need to remember to balance my running. Lots of easy MAF style runs each week with one harder effort seems to be the right balance. Maybe I'll even start setting heart rate zones and alarms. If I don't take control and enforce the easy running, my body may revolt again. I don't want another cold, or the flu, or pneumonia. Time to take charge and run with balance.

Interesting information...
Here is example heart rate data before and after being sick:
Healthy morning resting heart rate: 48 (lower is generally good)
Healthy heart rate variability reading: 65 (higher is generally good)
Sick morning resting heart rate: 62
Sick heart rate variability reading: 45