February 10, 2016

Why you should try Galloway Run-Walk method for a race

Disclosure:  Periodically I receive information from Jeff Galloway as a Galloway blogger.  Some of it is shared on the blog, but no compensation is received and the opinions stated here are always my own.

Training for a half marathon or full marathon takes courage especially for new runners.  And let's face it, no matter how many marathons you may have run, the training is long and hard if you want to step up to the starting line on race day with a chance of beating your personal best.  My best marathon (a PR and a BQ!) was trained and run using the Jeff Galloway run-walk principle of running for a certain length of time followed by walking for a set time.

The intervals that work best for me are running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute.  After playing around with different intervals, this one was the sweet spot of running and walking during my long runs. It is handy to have an interval timer too and the Gymboss (review here) is one that I use and love.

One thing that I noticed during my first two marathons was the amazing second of the half I could have still with plenty of energy to finish strong.  Personally, the intervals make me far less tired than straight running and are especially helpful when the weather is not the best on race day. The walking portion is also the perfect time to take your gels or other nutrition that you brought on your run without having to stop and take a break.
Telling my other running half about my race! (Quinitles Marathon 2014)
If you have only done straight walking for a race, please consider trying intervals for a few of the training runs before your next race.  You may be surprised at how well you feel during the last few miles during that long run if you have some breaks for walking.  Meghan, who tried the intervals with me for my goal race in March 2014 was shocked to run her 3rd best marathon with run/walk.  And that girl could have run another ten miles after we finished.  For me, one of the best parts about the Galloway method is the lack of fatigue that is normal during long runs where I do not take a break.

Now here is some of the information that I found most helpful in the recent information for Galloway bloggers:

1. Those who have a strategy almost always do better than those who just get out there and see what happens. A muscle, etc. that is used constantly will fatigue and break down more quickly. By taking scheduled walk breaks, the muscles stay strong and resilient to the finish. The principle behind walk breaks is "conservation of energy."

2. Almost everyone who runs continuously experiences a slowdown during the last 3-6 miles. Runners who use strategic walk breaks from the beginning tend to either speed up at the end or at least avoid slowing down. 

3. Each runner has certain "weak links" that ache more and are more common injury sites. Continuous use of the muscle will first cause the muscle to fatigue early, reducing muscle performance. Continuing to run under increasing fatigue will cause muscle, tendon, and joint damage. Walk breaks stop the abuse of a weak link, allowing the tissue to adapt, significantly reducing aches, injuries, and recover time. 

One of the reasons for my recent IT band issue could have been the speed of my long runs (they were usually close to race pace...not a good thing) and the lack of good recovery.  Lessons have been learned and training for my next big race will include lots more time taking care of my body pre- and post-run, including the run-walk method for my longer runs.

Here are a few more posts on the Galloway method:
- The importance of a training plan with tips from Jeff Galloway
- Tips from Jeff Galloway on the run-walk-run strategy
- Training to get faster with tips from Jeff Galloway
- Do you run-walk your races?

Many runners love the Galloway method.  Has it helped you earn a personal record after being a consistent straight run only runner?


  1. If I ever decide to do another marathon (which I have no desire to do right now) I may consider the Galloway method!

  2. We have a large group of run/walkers that train with CES! I'm using intervals for several of my clients right now--some will be run/walkers for the long run and some are transitioning back. Do what works for you!

  3. I really like the run/walk intervals and I feel like using the muscles in a different way during the walk intervals is really helpful. I'm currently doing a 2 minute/30 second split and that's been working well for me.

  4. Ever since I struggled with the IT band injury I have been using the Galloway method. I have settled into a good run walk ratio and although I have been tempted to increase the run portion I am really fearful of bring on injury again. -M

  5. I started loosely doing Galloway sort of on a whim this summer. And I found that this time around, it works well for me (I tried it when I first began running & it didn't work so hot for me then).

    I will admit sometimes I feel like I'm not a real runner, but OTOH, I had a good year of running last year & slightly faster times, too.

  6. I've always used water stations as walk breaks during a race and that helps, but I've been considering investing in a gym boss to do some Galloway runs. I certainly take walk breaks, but I need something a little more regulated to really see how that helps me out.

  7. I'm currently training with 1:1 intervals and loving it. However, I'm thinking about upping the run time in the future, just because I feel like I'm capable of going longer. I'm not looking to BQ, but I would like 2016 to be the year of the PR!

  8. I think you truly have to do a Disney run to see so many people doing this. I was so impressed with the etiquette of where they would hold their hand up before they go to a walk. Even with thousands upon thousands of people the course went so smooth. If I do another marathon I will train this way!

  9. So many people did this at the Disney marathon. I could hear all the beeping watches. I confess, in the past I've felt defeated if I allow myself to walk. It's as if I've thrown in the towel. I really need to change my mindset. I understand what Galloway is saying and I've seen the successes of others who've used this method! Time for me to get on board!

  10. I agree with Hoho's comment I had that mindset when I first introduced to Galloway. I couldn't imagine walking...too defeated, but i have lost of issue with heat so I tried when it was warm and was amazed at how much better my body held up. I have used this method very successfully for a few hot races. I do think you have to do it from the very start to get the full benefit though, I have switched half way and still felt fatigued lol