Interview with Jeff Galloway about Running
Jeff Galloway is a lifetime runner. He was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the 10,000 meter and marathon events. Since then he has helped over 250,000 non-elite runners achieve their goals through coaching and instruction. Jeff authored the best-selling running book in North America entitled Galloway’s Book on Running, and has also authored numerous other titles on running. Jeff is a producer of a wide range of fitness programs and events each year, he is the CEO of Galloway Productions, and as if that were not enough he also owns several running specialty stores.
Here are my 5 questions with Jeff and his answers:
1) I recently discovered that, contrary to conventional wisdom, muscle does not have a “memory”. You have written that after taking a week off from exercise a runner begins to lose about 25% of their fitness level per week. If someone is simply finding it hard to train but wants to make sure they “bank” their current progress from previous efforts, can one devise a minimal maintenance regimen in an attempt to maintain muscular and mitochondrial adaptation?
There is a minimum but you don’t need to pile it on either. Too much mileage can cause injury. Most people can do well on just three days a week. The muscles recover and the mind recovers as well. Studies show that 48 hours are needed to fully recover from a run. Along with running three times a week, your program should include performing a long run every two weeks. To maintain speed, you need at least one speed workout per week. My Running: A Year Round Plan book explains this comprehensively.
2a) I just ordered your new book Galloway’s Marathon FAQ: Over 100 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions. What is the most frequently asked question you get (and the answer of course)?
The two questions that I get asked most frequently are, “why do I experience fatigue?” and “why can’t I get beyond a certain distance?” The answer is almost always that they have not implemented walk breaks into their long run. When I can get them to do this, they inevitably are able to break boundaries in their training most of the time.
2b) What is one question that you believe is not asked enough?
The question I do not get asked enough is, “how can I maximize running enjoyment?” When asked my answer to this is: go out easier at the beginning of your runs, find the right group to run with, and enjoy the process. Getting injured diminishes the enjoyment of running and is avoidable if you follow a few simple guidelines.
3) This is a very self-serving question, so excuse me. You have honored me with your time so I am going to take full advantage. The Boston Marathon falls on my birthday in 2011 (need I say more). My last marathon was in your town of Atlanta in 2008 where I finally broke 4:30:00. Since then I have focused on speed (I can run one mile repeats at a 7:20mph pace) and reducing my weight (I’ve run most of my marathons at 220lbs; I am now closer to 200lbs). I’ve got two years left to try to get to Boston, which means shaving over an hour off my current personal best. What list of three reminders pertaining to this goal should be stuck to my mirror for daily viewing?
1. Lower your body weight ~ In your particular case it would benefit you to get under 200lbs.
2. Run slower on the long runs ~ Work up to 29 miles for your long run and 14 (one) mile repeats for your speed work.
3. Improve your form ~ Start by making adjustments at shorter races.
Focus on your long-term program. Identify your “magic mile” (learn more about the magic mile here). Your marathon pace will be around thirty percent more than this measure. You should remain realistic. I usually see between a 3% to 5% improvement over a six month period with the time goal runners I have trained, so again the key is to think long-term. Also, remember to stay cognizant of factors such as race day heat and marathon participant congestion that could adversely affect your time. In other words, avoid anything that is not going to maximize your overall time based on your goal.
4) I am a fan of supplementation. With regards to endurance training, you have well documented thoughts on nutrition and the benefits and concerns of caffeine supplementation. Are there any non-traditional supplements that you believe a marathoner should consider?
I think a good recovery drink after a run is important to reload glycogen stores. It should be 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein and be approximately 300 calories according to the research. Endurox R4 is formulated to provide just that.
I also believe a one-a-day vitamin is important to help aid with recovery and provide antioxidants. Personally I take Cooper Complete.
5) The first time I employed some of your strategies wholeheartedly in a marathon was at the 2007 Austin Marathon. I remember around mile two or three my watch beeped indicating to me that I should begin walking, which I did. A guy drafting me ran right into my back jeering, “Move to the side Gallowayer.” I laughed to myself and did what I was told. When you began promoting your run/walk strategies did you have any idea that, in turn, you would also be creating (in essence) such a huge marathon counterculture?
My mission since 1973 has always been to enable people to enjoy running as long as they can. I want people to be able to run until they are 100. It is my firm belief that if you pull back at the beginning you have more at the end. If people follow my advice, they have a greater probability of:
- a reduction in injuries
- more fun
- increase in health benefits
When I hear that someone has applied my principles effectively it gives me great satisfaction. It’s why I do this.