Before the Steel City Road Runners group run this past Saturday, two SCRR members spoke about the Galloway training program. They both completed several marathons using the program. The one member said she had previously been plagued with injuries but has been injury-free since training with the Galloway program. She said she also has much less fatigue and doesn’t need a ton of time for recovery after long runs. Even on 20-mile runs, she is still able to be up and about the rest of the day. Then she said something I thought was very interesting. She has gotten faster! In the Galloway program, you test your fitness during and throughout the program by timing a one-mile run. She has improved her speed by a full minute–which is huge for one mile.
I talked to her after the group run to learn more. I told her that since I’m trying to improve my speed, I’m worried that the Galloway program would slow me down. Not necessarily, she said. She pointed out that one of the SCRR coaches just got a marathon PR of sub-3:00 by using the Galloway program (the coach consulted directly with Jeff Galloway on his training plan).
She also said that you do not have to do every run using run-walk intervals. If you want, you can only use the intervals for the long run and the race.
After hearing all this, I was very intrigued. I recently debated about running my first full marathon and decided to wait until 2016. I would definitely consider doing the Galloway program for the full marathon, as that would help to alleviate some of my concerns (risk of injury, recovery time, feeling fatigue and possibly not finishing from running slowly and being out so long on the course).
I have a year to think about it, but now I’m wondering whether I should try the Galloway program for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon next spring to get a feel for the program before I commit to doing the program for the full marathon in 2016. Here are the pros and cons.
- I would like to run a half marathon at the end of March plus the Pittsburgh half marathon in early May, which would only be four weeks apart. With a standard training plan, would that be enough time to recover from the first and build up to the second? I asked on Saturday about this, and they said I’d definitely be able to do both if I used the Galloway program. The woman (a self-proclaimed Galloway geek) said that when you use the Galloway program you can safely run a marathon every month!
- SCRR develops the whole plan for you. They time your one-mile test, come up with your paces, interval ratio, and plan, schedule additional one-mile tests, and adjust your paces as you get more fit.
- In addition to SCRR developing the plan, they put you into a group with those running the same pace so that there will always be someone with the exact same goals to run with for both the training runs and the actual race.
- There is less risk of injury.
- The long runs would not be as tiring and there would be less time needed for recovery.
- I would still be able to do straight running on shorter runs.
- I would get to know the program, see how I like it, and choose whether I want to continue doing it.
- I love my current training plan, a Hal Higdon plan that Mike, a runner I met at a race this year and who I follow on Daily Mile, tweaked a bit. I like running five days a week with one day (and more at the end of the cycle) devoted to pace runs. I haven’t seen the Galloway program that SCRR uses, but every program I’ve seen online has only three running days a week and cross training the other days. I can see maybe dropping down from five running days to four, but three? I’ve built up to where I am now and would hate to lose my fitness. Plus, I don’t think the Galloway program calls for pace runs, which I think are essential and have really helped me.
- I am not injury prone and haven’t dealt with any major injuries. Of course, I’m dedicated to preventing injuries, but I don’t think I need to switch to the Galloway program due to injuries.
- So far (knock on wood), my long runs don’t wipe me out, and I’m still able to do other things afterward. Of course, I’m sure the long runs in marathon training are much different.
- I don’t want to get slower! I just heard two accounts where people actually got faster, but I am still skeptical.
- For my first half marathon last September, I tried the Galloway program but quit shortly after trying it. I found the intervals to be too jarring. Running has such a nice, meditative flow–one of the things I love about it–that I wonder if I’d like the run-walk intervals.
SCRR will be starting its Galloway half marathon training in January, so I have some time to think about it. Any advice? Also, is it okay to do the Galloway program for marathon training and stick with regular running for other races?