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Friday, April 17, 2009

Jeff's Lessons

Last weekend, I attended a couple of sessions with Olympian Jeff Galloway (who also is the creator of the Galloway Training Program, in which I am a group leader).  I've met Jeff before - several times, in fact.  Still, it is always nice to hear him speak.  He has a lot of helpful tips for his runners, and he always has a few uplifting and inspiring stories to share.

Friday evening, we had a meet and greet with Jeff, where we he talked about the training program and what is involved.  This was followed by a Saturday morning "Running School," which was a more intense session where Jeff went over a lot of tips and pointers for running.

Here are a few takeaways from both sessions:

Speed on Your Long Runs
You can never go too slow on your long runs.  People seem to never, ever, ever, listen to me when it comes to this rule, so let me say it again - you can never go too slow on your long runs.  What is a long run?  Any run that is longer than you've run at any other time in the last 2 weeks.  Did you run 18 miles last week?  Then, your 10 mile run this week isn't considered a "long run."  Did you run 12 miles last week and 7 miles the next?  Then yes, your 15 mile run this week is a long run and you shouldn't push the pace.

It is SO FRUSTRATING to be a group leader and have people complain to me that we aren't going fast enough.  How do you know what your pace should be?  Run a magic mile.  Once you do that, plug it into Jeff's calculator.  Let's use an example.  Let's say you do a 10 minute magic mile.  You should be able to do a 12:00 pace for a half marathon and a 13:00 pace for a full marathon.  Ok?  Now, what should your training pace be?  You should train at 2 minutes slower than your race pace.  So, if you are doing a long run and you are training for a half marathon at a 12:00 pace, you should be training at 14 minutes per mile.  Do you hear that, running group??  And that is only under ideal conditions.

Guess what?  I've been running my group at a 14 minute pace.  They don't like it.  There are other groups, go run with them.  14 minutes is even actually too slow a lot of the time, as we should also be running 30 seconds slower per mile for every 5 degrees over 60.  So, those 85 degree days?  We should be almost walking our long runs.  (I tend to keep it no slower than 15:30, it can be pretty tough to go slower than that)

If you are pushing pace and distance on any run at the same time...  you are asking for injury.  Plain and simple.  Don't believe me?  Just wait.

I started training in 2006 at a 2:1 interval and in 2008 I switched to a 1:30 & 1.  Here are Jeff's intervals:
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 35 seconds
9 min/mi— 4 min run-1 min walk
10 min/mi—-3:1
11 min/mi—2:30-1
12 min/mi—-2:1
13 min/mi—-1:1
14 min/mi—30 sec run/30 sec walk
15 min/mi—30 sec/45 sec
16 min/mi—30 sec/60 sec
What does this mean?  That means that based on your projected pace that day, that is the interval you should be running.  If you are planning to run a 14 minute pace, you should be doing 30:30s.  I am willing to do this if my group is for it, or to switch to 1:1s, but I know my group, and I know they're not going to go for it.  Never fear, fair group, I will be switching down to 1:1s at some point this year, trust me.

What about Speed though?
You should be working on your speed training on your short (weekday) runs and on your non-long run weekends.  Track work.  Repeats.  Hills.  You know the drill.  If I could only get my group interested...  I was thinking of doing some speed sessions on a bi-weekly basis during the week and seeing if my group would meet me for this.

Not So Much
There are a couple of places where Jeff and I disagree.  Most of it revolves around nutrition and what to eat on your runs.  For example, I disagree with Jeff's ideas about limiting salt.  I think salt is very important to athletes and unless you have a history of hypertension, you should not worry so much about your salt intake.  When you sweat, you lose salt.  So, this year, I intend to try "doing the salt" and take salt packets before and during the run.  This is less in line with Jeff's recommendation, and more in line with the Running Doc.    However, this doesn't mean loading up on salt as part of your regular diet, just as part of your pre-race meal.  Although for the record, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to my salt intake.

Jeff talked some about what to eat after a run.  In doing so, he stated you should eat something that is 80% carb and 20% protein right after a run.  Someone asked for an example.  He suggested a couple of name brand products.  When he was asked for examples of something else besides these products (like, um, real food), he said don't bother, eat these other products.  It makes me wonder about his sponsors...  Come on, Jeff!  Runner's world has suggested chocolate milk.  That sounds pretty good to me?

Jeff and I also disagree on weight training.  When I was new to running, I did not weight train my lower body and I totally agree that new runners should stay away from lower body weight training for their first 2-3 years.  After that, though, I think lower body weight training can be an important part of your training.  It will make you stronger, more confident and help reduce injury, provided you don't overdo it and you cut down the weight training when you're in your running season.  This is my first year really trying it, so we will see how it goes.

Running School?
Because I'm a group leader, I didn't pay for the school.  Do I recommend it?  Honestly, not for the price.  Those that did pay, paid between $49 and $99 for the school and I don't think that was enough for listening to Jeff talk.  Save your pennies and buy one of his books, but then actually READ IT and you will get the same result.  If you are new to running or a group leader, or if you really feel like you want to HEAR Jeff talk, then I would say, go for it and sign up for the running school.  Had I paid $99, I would not have felt that I got my moneys worth.

A Couple of Stories
Jeff talked about meeting a Kenyan who is training for the Olympics.  When questioned about his training, the Kenyan said that he runs his longest (26+ miles) runs at a 10 minute pace.  That is DOUBLE what he would run in an actual marathon.  The lesson?  Take it from the Kenyans, run slower on your long runs.  You cannot run too slow!! (I can't say that often enough)

Another story Jeff told on Saturday was about a guy who found himself injured.  He had been training for a sub-4 hour goal, and his doctor had told him that he wouldn't be able to run for several weeks.  He was allowed to walk as much as he wanted, but no running.  The man contacted Jeff, who recommended that he give up on the sub-4 goal, but walk his runs.  The man walked his 15, 17, 19, and 23 mile runs and then was recovered and ran his 26 miler.  His time?  3:59.  No kidding!  YOU CAN'T GO TOO SLOW!  SO STOP BITCHING AT ME!

The end.

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