I’m finishing up my third week of half marathon training using a Jeff Galloway schedule. I thought I’d share how things are going so far.
I have to be honest. For the first week and a half, I thought I was following the training schedule. I ran the correct length of time or miles (some days are a certain number of minutes, some are miles). I did what I tend to do. I ran as fast I could run and still finish the full time or distance. Let me be clear about this from the outset – I am not a fast runner. I only mean that I ran the fastest pace that I could maintain for thirty minutes.
As I have mentioned, I picked up Galloway’s Book on Running, and I am in the middle of reading it now. I quickly found out that my week one approach was wrong by Galloway’s standards. He recommends running your training runs about one minute per mile slower than goal pace. For your long runs, he recommends running two minutes per mile slower than goal pace. Or even slower than that. Oops.
In the book, Galloway describes aerobic versus anaerobic exercise:
Aerobic means “in the presence of oxygen.” You are running aerobically when you run slowly and comfortably and do not exceed the pace or distance for which you have recently trained. Here your muscles are strong enough to carry the load and there is enough oxygen available from the blood stream. The few waste products that are produced are easily whisked away in the blood before building up and obstructing muscle function.
He points out that for fitness, anaerobic exercise is not necessary. When doing speedwork, a runner will train his or her body to withstand the strain of anaerobic exercise, but for the other training runs, Galloway claims it is better to keep it aerobic.
For my last several runs, I have slowed things down considerably. In a way, it is driving me nuts. I keep considering the pros and cons in my mind.
* I fear that I am training my body to be slower, that it will grow accustomed to the slower pace and will not be able to go faster later on.
* My runs, especially my long runs will require a greater time commitment.
* Sometimes I am just itching to go faster! It is fun to go faster.
* Some songs that come up on Pandora practically beg me to run faster! (Do you listen to music that fires you up when you exercise?)
* My four mile run at a slower pace felt easier than my three mile run at a faster pace. I didn’t mind that too much. 😉
According to Galloway, this will:
*better allow my blood to carry oxygen to my muscle cells
*will lead to less lactic acid buildup in my body
*will allow for faster recovery after long runs
*will decrease the likelihood of injury
*will allow me to eventually be more successful than if I pushed harder
I recently shared that I believe that “mind over matter” is quite possible. I really do. I think we can push ourselves to accomplish more, to keep going when it’s really hard to do so. In general, I think this is a good thing. However, I think it can be bad thing if we go so far as to disregard signals of injury. We try to listen to our bodies, but really, when trying to meet a goal, it can be tempting to try to push through pain. Maybe it is because I am a novice runner, but it is hard for me to tell the difference between a normal “sore from a good workout” and a warning “something is wrong” kind of sore.
One thing that drew me to Jeff Galloway’s training program is that he encourages adequate rest days between hard runs. He even encourages walk breaks. I thought that his training program may be just the thing to get me to a new distance – half marathon – without hurting myself along the way.
I have been a little surprised by how hard I’m finding it to follow his advice. I do want to go, go, go, but I also want to avoid the injured knees and ankles that have sprinkled my previous running seasons, showing up anytime I approach ten miles. Bottom line, what do I have to lose? I am not in it to win. I am in it for the fun and fitness benefits.
What do I have to lose?
A 10 mile maximum run length?
Time will tell. I will keep you posted along the way.
Meanwhile, I have five slow miles to squeeze in before I head off to celebrate Christmas one last time. Have a good weekend!