Monday, 7 February 2011

Jeff Galloway really works!

"For those racing tomorrow and who signed up for a distance they've never done, there's hope!" says 65-year old former olympian Jeff Galloway to a mix crowd of novice and long time runners in Collegio San Agustin gym in Makati.

Since its been three months that I've been grappling with my joint effusion a.k.a. osteoarthritis, I attended his lecture The Galloway Method to learn how to run long distance without pain and injury. He said "running can be a joy and finishing a marathon can significantly improve the quality of life at any age... our bodies are designed to cover very long distances without breaking down when strategic recovery periods are inserted." This is at least one minute walk breaks taken early and often enough in the beginning.

The theory is based on conservation of resources early enough to speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. He said "When a muscle group, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity."

Galloway recommended the following run-walk-run strategy based on training pace per km:
4:58 pace per km —run 4 min/walk 30 seconds
5:16 — run 4 min/walk 45 seconds
5:35 — run 4 min/ walk 1min
6:12 — run 3 min/walk 1min
6:50 — run 2.5 min/walk 1 min
7:27 — run 2 min/ walk 1 min
8:04 — run 1 min/walk 1 min
8:41 — run 30 sec/walk 30 sec
9:19 — run 30 sec/walk 40 sec
9:56 — run  20 sec/40 sec
10:33 — run 15 sec/45 sec
11:11 — run 10 sec/50 sec

To train for the distance, he recommended to work out at least 20-30 minutes every Tues-Thurs plus a long run during the weekends. It is the long run that develops endurance and the repeated short distances that develops speed.  He strongly emphasized to run slowly on the long ones and to gradually increase to goal distance by lengthening every two weeks. Cross-trainings are good and improve overall fitness. It should be done on the same day as the runs and the off days should be devoted to rest or off-legs (no pounding) like water running.

Throughout his 32 years of running, his secret to staying relatively injure free is by being sensitive to his weak links - this is, he immediately backs off at the first sign of pain and swelling and stops whenever there is loss of function in feet, legs or joints.  He said "if I have pain that doesn't go away, I stop running."  The problem will be gone after two to five days of rest. And for the hills, hot weather, etc. insert more frequent walk breaks. 

On massage and stretching, Galloway recommended: deep tissue for muscle injury, ice massage for tissue close to the skin, foam roller for iliotibial band (ITB) and daily toe squincher exercises to avoid plantar fasciitis. He doesn't advise to stretch out a tight muscle and instead to use light massage and/or easy walking to promote increased blood flow.  Stretching should be done only at the end of the day before going to bed, when the body is more relaxed. This can reduce injury from stretching too far and rushing through the routine.

On nutrition, he said to practice eating routines during long runs and the day before the race, he counseled: "Don't eat large amount of foods after 12 noon; drink at least eight glasses of water , two of which are electrolyte drinks; and salt intake day before race is not good."  And during the race, he urged to drink 60 to 120ml of pure water every 3-km and to take 30-40 calories every 3km, this is take 'pure' sugar-- gummy bears and candy.

On motivation, he advised the night before the race to layout the race outfit, if possible, right next to the coffee machine, set the alarm, and say this mantra until you fall asleep - "turn off alarm, feet on the floor, drink coffee." And on race day, say the mantra "relax, power, glide" throughout the run.

with Jeff Galloway and STSI runner Tony Galvez
Well, after a 3-month hiatus from running, I am happy to report that at the Condura Skyway race the next day, I was able to finish the 16-km distance in 2:07!!! I followed his run-walk-run strategy - specifically, run for 4-min then walk for 1-min. In the uphill, I slowed my pace to a very easy jog.  I finished without pain and in fact looked 'fresh' as if I didn't run.

Lets see how this goes. Next up is a half marathon (21-km) in  Hong Kong on February 20, 2011.

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