One runner I coach sent this interesting comment in. He had followed the Galloway Method for a couple years prior to me coaching him:
I almost feel deceived about the Galloway method. I feel that I am improving and doing very well here with what you have me doing. His books as you know always say don’t do too much fast running and I pretty much do mostly faster running now. It is a great change and I feel the fitness coming on with this approach. I am seeing improvement. I do believe that using Galloway was the perfect way for me to feel like I could be a part of the running world at all. [He started out over-weight and out of shape. – DMH] It really opened the door of possibility to me. I recommend it highly to those who have never run and who feel that they can’t run. The method is great to get into the wonderful world of running. I am just amazed that I can run as fast as I am now. What do you think of this? Jason
I like your comments about Galloway and if someone is reticent about running it’s a good start… it’s better than not starting. If it gets them involved and motivated – perfect. If it builds self-confidence – great! And that is something I do credit Galloway with. He has involved many people in this wonderful world of running who otherwise would never have tried.
Anyone who has some running background (such as from the Galloway or other approach) has a leg up (pun intended) on someone starting running who has been a couch potato. So, it did serve you well in forming a base of conditioning by strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments.
That is not to say that it is the better way to start for any given individual or even most people. If you start with any research-based training approach from the very beginning; a runner will yield far better results and those results will occur faster as well.
The fear (by Galloway and Long Slow Distance advocates) and the myth is that fast running yields injuries. Running is one of the most strenuous activities you can undertake. Why else does every single athlete use it to get in condition for their sport? As such, injuries are something to always be concerned about. But, fast running in fact yields injuries at a lower rate than “more miles.” Mileage is directly and unarguably correlated. Both speed and miles however must be approached gradually otherwise of course you court injuries.
Another part of the problem is a misinterpretation of the very term “fast.” Galloway advocates will see that word and think “all out sprints.” As you have learned through your program, “fast” is a relative term. The bulk of fast running is actually not even close to a sprint and mostly run between 5k and 10k pace.
The other misinterpretation is what pace to run that long run. There are advocates of lots of long slow distance to build a mythical aerobic base. The problem is that though an aerobic base is not a bad thing it also is not indicative of performance capabilities. That is, a high VO2max has one of the lowest correlations to race times. Whereas 50-300m sprint times, vVO2max, and lactate threshold all have far superior correlations to race times and these are minimally effected by long slow distance running. Yet, aerobic base is built simultaneously when doing faster running. So again, a faster pace is critical and you indeed have to run a chunk of these miles faster than just a slow jog with a walking break. If your goal is to run a four hour marathon – like you – then you must do progressively more miles at 9:00/mile – which you did. That will lead to sub-4 hour marathons – like you just ran in unbelievable weather – and running lots and lots of miles at 10 or 11 minute miles will not get you there. So, again, running faster gets results not running slower.
Even as you train for your 40 miler; of course there some longer slower runs but to hit your goal time a significant number of miles over the entire training program must be at “goal pace” which is not jogging.
What’s the bonus with research-based training?
1. As mentioned the first bonus is that you get faster at your running, well… faster.
2. You don’t have to run as many miles and you will get similar to far better results to those running or run-walking up to twice the mileage.
3. GENERALLY you will incur far less injuries than those putting more pounding on their legs.
So, a runner or coach must apply the scientific principles correctly as well as read the results in the athlete to know how to adjust or accommodate individual progress and reaction to workouts. The real bottom line is to evaluate the individual and what will help them thrive and stick to it; and that of course is the art versus the science of coaching. Anything followed blindly is stupid. And stupid is as stupid does… or something like that.