May 14, 2015

Train to get faster with tips from Jeff Galloway

Attending the expo for any runDisney race is always a treat with some of the great guest speakers that provide tips for training and racing.  Jeff Galloway is the official runDisney training consultant and he is always approachable and very willing to share tips and helpful information regarding the races.

During our many years of running at Disney, Christine and I have enjoyed getting to know Jeff and his lovely wife Barbara.  I actually ran with them for the Princess Half Marathon last year and find his run/walk training plan to be just fantastic for both new and experienced runners.  When moving up to a new race distance, having those longer runs incorporate some walking makes them much easier to manage.

Our Princess Half group post race!

Training to get faster is a whole other topic and one that has been a focus of mine for the past 6-12 months.  After qualifying for Boston last March, I ran very few races for a PR for the remainder of the year.  One race was an automatic PR since I had never run the distance before (Tower of Terror 10 miler) but other than that, my times were just okay. It certainly made it crystal clear why speed training and tempo runs are critical for race improvement. Once 2015 arrived, I knew I needed to PR my 10k and half marathon races that were from several years prior.  My first opportunity at the half marathon distance was the Princess Half.  Most runners run the Disney races for fun, but what could be more fun than setting a new PR regardless of where you are racing?  The other "monkey on my back" PR was eliminated this weekend when I ran the Tinkerbell 10k.  Except for hill work due to flat Wilmington, my training through my coached group includes most of what Jeff recommends.  

As Jeff Galloway bloggers, we receive periodic tips to share with readers and this time Jeff is sharing what he recommends for you to improve your speed.

Longer Long Runs:  Statistics from Jeff's clients have proven that increasing your marathon long run from 20 to 26 miles has shown an average time improvement of 13 minutes for the marathon race.  When you consider that, why wouldn't you run a long run of 26 miles?  Jeff offers a year round plan book that covers all race distances and gives you the appropriate long mileage distance for comparable improvements in time at the 5k, 10k and half marathon level.

Speed Repetitions:  Jeff's runners improve by an average of 6 minutes for the marathon and 3 for the half marathon by increasing the number of speed repetitions of 800 and 1600 meters. He offers very specific guidance in his training books and will give you speed and number of intervals for your level and needs.
Improve Running Form:  Unless you are an elite runner, improved running form should help tremendously in your quest to become a speedier runner. Cadence drills and water running are two of the ways Jeff recommends for form improvement.  An interesting fact is that by running 15 minutes in water without touching the ground, your legs will find the most efficient way through the water. This will be improved form!
Race in Shorter Events: As a runner who prefers longer race distances I avoid short races.  However, I will now embrace them, maybe not frequently but they certainly will help with improved speed.  By running a shorter distance race, your body learns to adapt to a higher level of oxygen debt and your mechanics can improve.  If you are training for a marathon, choose a 10k or half marathon during your training cycle.  As always, Jeff has more information available in his books.
Hill Training: There are not many runners I know who relish the challenge of hills, but by training on hills you will also improve your strength and speed as a runner. Be sure to shorten your stride as you go up the hill and pick up your turnover of your feet.  By running hill repeats you will gain strength and perform better when you do speed work sessions.  You will also have better times for those hilly races.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful as you work towards your next race day goals.  Do you use the Galloway run/walk method?  

17 comments:

  1. I trained for my first marathon with the Galloway Method and I intend to use it again for my next one. -M

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    1. It really is much easier on your body using run/walk. I hope you are feeling much better soon Meranda.

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  2. I love Galloway. I use it for all of my races and have had great success. The best part-NO soreness when I am done! I tested it out a few weeks ago, ran 5k straight without stopping and another 5k the next week using intervals. My time was over 90 sec faster using intervals and I felt so much better afterwards.

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    1. Wow, that is an impressive difference Juliana. I have never used run/walk for shorter distance races, just the marathon.

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  3. How cool he's so available at the Disney races.

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    1. Yes, he is such a genuinely nice person as is his lovely wife Barbara.

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  4. First off, it's super cool you got to meet and run with Jeff Galloway. That's just awesome because even though I don't do run/walk very often, he knows what he's talking about and obviously it works for a LOT of people out there. When I was returning from injury last summer, I started doing run/walk long runs with a friend who is a Galloway follower, and it really helped me rebuild my endurance.

    I agree with all those tips to get faster especially with running shorter races. Both of us live in the South and we know it gets hot, so I focus on training for shorter distances like 5Ks in the summer now, and in the Fall/Winter, more about half marathons. Plus a 5K during half or full training makes for a great tempo run, especially if it's a race you like or a cause you want to support.

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    1. I guess I had forgotten that you started back after your injury using run/walk. One of the girls in my running group suffered a stress fracture to her femur and is now using run/walk as she gets back to training. Yes, the shorter races are much better in the summer. Who wants to run a half marathon when it is 90 degrees outside!

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  5. Love the tips! I'm with you, I really enjoy the longer distances,but it does help to do the shorter races to mentally and physically step out of our comfort zones. I'll be doing some shorter stuff this summer in preparation for the fall racing season for those reasons :)

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    1. Good luck with your shorter races Hailey. I wish I could love them, but I just don't

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  6. It's a long-term wish of mine to do one of his running camps at Blue Mountain Beach!

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    1. His camps look fantastic. I need to ask for one of those for a birthday present. IT would be the perfect gift!

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  7. I've never been a huge Galloway fan, but there are a few things he talks about that I agree with.
    I do really like hill work, and speed work those are both great things to bring down time. I actually like combining them, sprinting up the hills, and jogging back down, repeating, that is one thing that has helped me.
    I also think the long runs are a must, but I've actually found for myself that 18-20 milers are plenty:) Especially if I am getting good weekly mileage in and not doing the train less plans.
    great post!!!

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    1. I always need to run at least 22 before a marathon. I know it is totally mental, but it makes me more confident going into a race. I wish we had hills here, because whenever I run them, I see how much improvement you could have with training on them regularly.

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  8. Thanks for sharing! I always run/walk during any race. I dont always follow a strict run/walk pace ratio, but more walking when i need it and running when i can. But also challenging and pushing myself. When I was training for my first Half (PHM 2013) I read Galloways book, Half Marathon, you can do it (or something to that effect) and it really helped. I followed his training plan as best as I could living in the new england weather.

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  9. Thanks for sharing. We ran the tink half and loved every minute. We got to meet Jeff at the Expo and he was very nice.

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