Jeff's quest for the injury-free marathon training program led him to develop group training programs in 1978, and to author Runner's World articles which have been used by hundreds of thousands of runners of all abilities. His training schedules have inspired the second wave of marathoners who follow the Galloway RUN-WALK-RUN™, low mileage, three-day suggestions to an over 98% success rate. Jeff has worked with over 200,000 average people in training for specific goals. Jeff is an inspirational speaker to over 200 running and fitness sessions each year. His innovative ideas have opened up the possibility of running and completing a marathon to almost everyone. Philosophically, Jeff believes that we were all designed to run and walk, and he keeps finding ways to bring more people into the positive world of exercise.
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The Run Walk Run® Method
Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.
This book has been very carefully prepared, but no responsibility is taken for the correctness of the information it contains. Neither the author nor the publisher can assume liability for any damages or injuries resulting from information contained in this book.
All the joys of running—without the pain!
Running turns on brain circuits for a better attitude, more vitality, and personal empowerment better than other activities studied. Millions start and re-start their running career because they know they will feel better, think better, and enjoy life better if they run regularly but break down in pain or exhaustion because they run non-stop.
My Run Walk Run® (RWR) method can take away the pain and bring the joy of running to almost everyone. Veteran runners are running faster and avoiding injuries. Millions of new runners are discovering that strategic walk breaks leave them feeling good during and after a run, able to enjoy family, career and social activities with the mindset of an athlete.
As you might imagine, these converts to the method are telling their friends, and showing them how to experience these life-changing enhancements at any age. As each new Run Walk Runner infects at least 10 others to try the method, a new running boom is spreading across the globe.
Shoe and clothing manufacturers are not making enough of the popular running products. Races are expanding and popular ones are filling up sooner than ever. So many of these new runners were quite comfortable, sedentary citizens before deciding to take on a series of rigorous physical challenges. Why did they do this?
Feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners over the past 40 years has a consistent theme. Even a confirmed couch sitter can receive a sense of empowerment and joy not experienced in other activities. Once these enhancements are experienced, who wants to go back to the old life?
When talking to groups of new runners, most tell me that they didn’t even consider trying it until they heard about Run Walk Run®. Many of them tried to run non-stop for short distances and had to stop within a city block or less due to pain, excess breathing, or failure of the running muscles. As soon as they used the right Run Walk Run® strategy, a whole new world opened up.
Almost everyone wants to have control over their destiny. Run Walk Run® allows each of us to be the captain of our running ship, adjusting the running, the walking, and the pace, so that one can get the workout desired…without the negatives of overexertion.
Ten years ago, in major races, about ten percent of the runners were taking walk breaks. Observers today estimate that about 40-50% are using the Run Walk Run® method in some form—and the percentage is growing every year. According to thousands of reports every year, the Galloway RWR method is the only reason that many novice runners thought that they could even try to run. Within a year or two they are finishing marathons and half marathons. You know who they are—the ones who are passing others during the last few miles of the race.
There are few things in life more exhilarating than passing people at the end of a race.
Because each runner can control the amount of running and the amount of walking, each can be successful every day. Without the pressure of having to run for any specific distance, every running moment can be enjoyed, as friends can talk and laugh during a workout.
Surprisingly, veterans are running faster with the right placement of walk breaks. Not only are energy reserves and muscle resources conserved. Adaptations are made and fatigue is erased during the race so that Run Walk Runners are strong to the end, passing others. This activates the will to do one’s best which non-stop runners tend to lose by the end of a hard race or workout.
There are many tools in this book that give the individual control over his or her destiny. The most powerful effect of the Run Walk Run® strategy is the activation of the most effective tool we have: the conscious brain. As we set up the right ratio of running to walking each day, we turn on circuits in the executive brain that infuse energy, improve attitude, gear up physical systems, trigger positive hormones, and keep the components in synch and communicating with one another.
The regular use of this conscious brain gives us control over our experience. As we fine-tune our pace with the right Run Walk Run® strategy we develop a sense of belief in the process of becoming better. Formerly confirmed sedentary citizens find themselves going out the door on an oppressively cold day because of the joy delivered by each run. Studies show that as one gets into running, dietary choices tend to become more healthy, work productivity increases, and runners look for and find other ways of improving the quality of their life.
The daily empowerment from balancing running and walking is reinforcing but the greatest reward is the positive activation of the spirit. That mysterious positive will to go on is what makes us uniquely human. Of all of the activities that offer spiritual enhancement, running is one of the most comprehensive: bringing together body mind and spirit as a powerful team.
Every year I meet and talk to runners ages 4 to 84+ and have met with runners in all continents except Antarctica. We share the same positive enhancements. The best part is that most can run for the rest of their lives….with the right Run Walk Run® adjustments.
Run Walk Run®: The Beginning
In 1974 I was asked to teach a class in beginning running. I had opened my specialty running store, Phidippides, and wanted to help average citizens enjoy the benefits of running. Honestly, I also wanted to increase the number of potential customers.
During the first class I discovered that none of my students had been running for at least five years. About one third had never done any regularly scheduled exercise. During the first lap around the track I realized that walk breaks would be crucial if I wanted each class member to finish either a 5K or 10K without injury or exhaustion.
Three pace groups naturally emerged. The beginners called themselves basket case physical specimens. At the other end of the conditioning spectrum was a group of young guys who had been regularly engaged in other sports and were in good shape. There was also a middle group. As I ran with each group on each workout I focused on breathing rate. The huff-and-puff rule emerged: when you hear huffing and puffing increase, take more frequent walk breaks and slow the pace.
Throughout the first class I adjusted the Run Walk Run® amounts so that each person felt successful in completing the distance—which gradually increased during one run each week. Most admitted that they started to look forward to each run because of the improved attitude during and afterward.
At the end of the 10-week term was the exam: either a 5K or 10K. Each student—even the self-titled basket cases—finished one or the other. When I polled each at the end, I received my best reward: none of them had been injured.
I had never been with a group of 20 or more runners for more than two months without some injuries. When my novices had started to feel aches I increased the frequency of walk breaks and their bodies adapted.
During the next two years I experimented with various ratios of walk breaks as I worked with beginning runners who ran in groups from my store, and in individual consultations. In 1976 Galloway training programs began. I continued to find that walk breaks could almost eliminate injury.
Many of the veteran marathoners refused to take walk breaks at first. As the former beginners moved into longer distance events such as marathons, they continued to adjust walk breaks and started to record faster times than the veterans. This led to the use of walk breaks in all of the pace groups.
Anthropologists who study ancient man have told me they don’t believe humans were originally suited for continuous long-distance running. Over the millions of years that our ancestors moved from four feet to two feet for transportation, they walked long distances every day and developed extremely efficient movement patterns.
Indeed, survival was enhanced by the ability to keep moving every day and to gather limited supplies of food—while spending minimum amounts of energy. These experts believe that running was used in relatively short bursts to get away from predators, jump over obstacles and later in the evolutionary cycle, to pick up the pace when tracking animals.
Increased energy consumption. We can adapt to continuous running, but at the cost of dramatically faster expenditure of limited energy supplies and muscle resources. We must lift our body weight off the ground with each running step—and absorb the shock of landing. Running continuously will result in an energy crisis which forces thousands of non-stop marathoners each year to mostly walk during the last 4-6 miles of their marathon.
Reduced orthopedic stress. Continuous running greatly increases the aggravation on the orthopedic system, compared with the very minor irritations of walking. The walk motion uses momentum very efficiently through biomechanics that have been adapted, fine-tuned, and upgraded for millions of years. Everyone has a few weak links in the orthopedic system that become targets during non-stop running and break down sooner due to range of motion, genetics, prior injury, etc.
Simply stated, we can train ourselves to run continuously for increasingly longer distance. But the accumulation of stress on weak links will eventually reach a level where the joint, muscle, tendon, etc. will fail. This often requires weeks or months of repair.
Run Walk Run® is a strategy to eliminate break down. Inserting the walks before the weak link is damaged allows stress to be managed, repaired, and adapted, while other areas are recruited to get the job done. It’s possible to stay injury free while continuing to increase distance with the early and regular insertion of walk breaks. This ancient method allows us to be in charge of our running future.
A smart way to run—by giving you cognitive control over each workout
Allows one to carry on all of your life activities—even after long runs.
Motivates beginners to get off the couch and run
Bestows running joy to non-stop runners who had given up due to injury or burnout
Helps improve finish times in races
Gives all runners control over fatigue
Delivers all of the running enhancements without exhaustion or pain
Allows YOU to make the rules for your run each day
Strategic rest interval—walk before you get tired
A short and gentle walking stride
No need to eliminate the walk breaks
Most of us, even when untrained, can walk for several miles before fatigue sets in, because we’re genetically designed to walk efficiently for hours. Running is more work, because you have to lift your body off the ground and then absorb the shock of the landing, over and over.
The continuous use of the running muscles will produce more fatigue, aches, and pains than maintaining the same pace while taking walk breaks. If you walk before your running muscles start to get tired, you allow the muscle to recover instantly—increasing your capacity for exercise while reducing the chance of next-day soreness.
The method part involves having a strategy. By using a ratio of running and walking that is right for you on each day, you can manage your fatigue. The result? You’re the one who is strong to the finish, doing what you need or want to do after long runs. You never have to be exhausted after a long run again.
The RWR method is very simple—you run for a short segment and then take a walk break, and keep repeating this pattern.
Speed you up an average of 7 minutes faster in a 13.1-mile race when non-stop runners shift to the correct Run Walk Run® ratio—and more than 13 minutes faster in the marathon (average improvement based upon statistical surveys)
Give you control over the way you feel during and afterward
Push back your wall of exhaustion or soreness
Allow for endorphins to collect during each walk break—you feel good!
Break up the distance into manageable units (e.g., “Just 30 seconds until a walk break!”)
Reduce the chance of aches, pains, and injury
Allow you to feel good afterward—carrying on the rest of your day without debilitating fatigue
Give you all of the endurance and empowerment of the distance of each workout—without the pain
Allow older runners or heavier runners to recover quickly, and feel as good or better as the younger (slimmer) days
Activate the frontal lobe, maintaining your control over attitude and motivation
It’s better to walk slowly, with a short stride. There has been some irritation of the shins, when runners or walkers maintain a stride that is too long. Relax and enjoy the walk.
Some beginners assume that they must work toward the day when they don’t have to take any walk breaks at all. This is up to the individual, but it is not recommended. Remember that you choose the Run Walk Run® strategy for that day. There is no rule that requires you to hold to any configuration on a given day. As you adjust the running and the walking to how you feel, you gain control over your fatigue.
I’ve run for over 50 years, and I enjoy running more than ever because of walk breaks. Each run I take energizes my day. I would not be able to run almost every day if I didn’t insert the walk breaks early and often.
Run Walk Run® allows YOU to make the rules for your run, each day.
Almost every day a new runner reports to me that an experienced runner said something like this: “If you take walk breaks, you’re not a runner.”
When someone says this to me my comeback is the following:
“I’ve been on the U.S. Olympic team and have run for more than 50 years, and I didn’t know that there was a running rule book that excludes walking. Could you show me this rule book?”
There is no list of rules. The most wonderful aspect about running, compared to other sports, is that each of us determines where, when, how far, and how fast to run. We are the captains of our running ships and have complete control over how we do it each day.
But in almost every aspect of our lives there are a few people who believe that their way of doing things is the only way. They have no right to tell anyone how he or she should run, but they were around when I took my first running steps in 1958, telling me that I wasn’t running correctly unless I did it their way. When I made training changes that allowed me to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, some of them told me I wasn’t running enough while others said I was running too much. Unlike most runners who are supportive and want to help other runners, this tiny percentage of narcissists often picks on beginners because they are impressionable. Unfortunately I meet a number of former beginners who stopped running because of such negative coaching.
If we ran as the first marathoners ran, we should all be taking walk breaks. Marathon competition began in 1896, in the first edition of the modern Olympic Games. A few years ago, while wandering through a museum in Athens, Greece, I noticed a newspaper column on display with a picture of the winner of this first marathon race. Our Greek guide, Maria, translated the account of a reporter who followed the runners from start to finish. The quote that I will always remember is: “Every one of the athletes walked significantly in this race.”
I will never try to drag anyone kicking and screaming into Run Walk Run®. Each runner can choose to run or walk as much or as little as they wish. The benefits are numerous, but some runners believe that running means no walking at all in a race or workout. There are only a handful of runners who do this on all of their runs. A runner has the right to insist that non-stop running is the only way to run for himself or herself—but no right to impose this on anyone else.
You don’t even have to answer the usually negative remarks made by these runners. You have a proven method that can get you to finish any run with strength, and never be out of commission for friends and family.
You are the captain of your running—and walking—ship.
How to reprogram the subconscious reflex brain to use Run Walk Run®.
Most children have been instructed while in physical education class or on a sports team to never walk. A common coaching statement that is embedded in the subconscious reflex brain is that walking is failure. There are reasons why coaches will instruct their students to keep running during short events, but it is neither necessary nor productive to follow this advice for the rest of our lives.
It‘s a fact that this childhood programming is very powerful and hardwired as a subconscious reflex behavior pattern. When we start to take a walk break, even 20 years after we finished our last cross country race or PE class, stress builds up in the reflex brain and anxiety hormones are produced. This subconscious brain may also trigger your memory to remind you what your coach said (or at least a fuzzy remembrance).
But there‘s hope. We can reprogram the reflex brain to accept the taking of walk breaks as normal by using a cognitive strategy. This shifts control away from the subconscious and into the executive center that does the retraining. Here‘s how.
Use the Magic Mile to determine a realistic goal pace and a conservative long run pace.
Set your Run Walk Run® ratio based upon the pace per mile of both the goal pace and the long run pace using the Galloway Run Walk Run® chapter in this book.
Load yourself up with all the positive Run Walk Run® mantras and key phrases. Memorize these or write them down so that you can talk back to the reflex brain’s negative messages:
Walk breaks make me strong—to the end.
Walk breaks allow me to do what I want to the rest of the day.
Walk breaks speed my recovery.
Walk breaks help me run faster.
Walk breaks let me control fatigue.
Walk breaks break up the distance into doable segments.
Walk breaks give me control over my running enjoyment.
Get a Run Walk Run® timer or program your watch for segments. The $20 timer is available at www.JeffGalloway.com and gets you into a rhythmic pattern of RWR. This is a great way to reprogram the reflex brain.
At the end of each run, make a conscious statement about how the Run Walk Run® method is superior to your old way—“I have a tool to enjoy running for life.”
You determine how much you run and how much you walk.
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