Whether you are a first time runner or returning to running after a break, starting running is not as easy as “just doing it”. Sure you can get out there and try the “I’ll just run as long as I can” plan. What’s wrong with that? Well it will likely lead to injury, frustration, and you eventually giving up on running because you’re not seeing the progress you want.
During my pregnancy and in the 6 weeks after I did NOT run at all. Not one step. For someone who adores running, adding up miles, and works in a running related job it was hard. But for my baby and for my body to recover I easily did it. When I’m starting my journey to running again I am literally starting from zero. Zero. Since this is a new experience to me I knew that I wanted to run smart, so I turned to the experts for advice; US Olympian and the creator of the run-walk-run strategy, Jeff Galloway.
With the Galloway method you alternate prescribed times of running and walking throughout your entire run. For example – run 1 minute, walk 1 minute for your entire run. (to find your ideal Galloway intervals use this “magic mile” predictor)I used the Galloway method when I started training for my first marathon in 2006. I only recently went to “straight” running when training for the Space Coast Marathon in 2013 and it was more a result of my running group. I firmly believe the Galloway method can help you run faster if you can mentally commit to your walk breaks. According to Jeff’s website here are some of the principles of the run-walk method:
• Continuous use of a muscle will result in quicker fatigue
• The longer the run segment, the more fatigue
• Run Walk Run is a form of interval training
• Conservation of resources
• Quicker recovery
• Less stress on the “weak links”
• Ability to enjoy endorphins
• Reduce core body temperature
When I emailed Jeff to get his advice for “starting from zero” he stressed the importance of taking it slow. He added that coming back from having a baby is tough and to be easy on myself. Here’s how he recommended I start:
· Run every other day.
· First day: walk for 10 min at beginning and end, then run 10 sec/walk 30 sec for 10 min, then walk 5 min. If all is well do another 10 sec/30 for 10 min
· Walk 30-60 min on the recovery day or rest
· Second day: walk for 10 min at beginning and end, then run 15 sec walk 30 for 10 min, then walk 5 min. If all is well, do another 10 min of 15/30
· Third day: walk 10 min at beginning and end, then run 15 sec/walk 15 sec for 10 min, then walk 5 min. If all is well do another 10 min of 15/15.
I am not your average runner in that I put extra importance on my 2x week strength training sessions with Kyle. Typically in marathon training I run 3x week and strength train two. So I am running/training less then Jeff recommended, but I always run less then other “runners”. Right now with my schedule filled with work and baby, I am committing to 2 strength training session and hopefully 2 running sessions.
My “long” run last week was 2 miles with a 60 second run, 30 second walk interval. I can’t tell you how much the run-walk method helps when you’re slowing adding back miles. You never get to the point where you feel you can’t run anymore. The walk break gives you time to catch your breath and recover. I also haven’t been excessively sore. Yesterday I did the same 2 mile route and got my pace to 9:56. That was exciting!
I have roughly 4 months until my first race back, the Space Coast Half Marathon. My goal for that race is more about completing the training to go 13.1 miles and enjoying being able to run. The next race on my calendar is the Celebration Half Marathon at the end of January and based on how I do at Space Coast that will be more of a “time-goal” race. Right now I’m aiming for a 2:05 Space Coast finish and hoping to utilize a run-walk strategy of 2 minute running – 30 seconds walking. I’ll let you know how my training goes here and via Instagram.
If you are getting back to running or want to run for the first time, I highly recommend looking into the Galloway method. Jeff Galloway is not only a great friend, but a wonderful coach and passionate about helping other runners reach their finish line.
What’s your next race?
What’s the longest break you’ve taken from running?
Love and walk breaks,