App Focus - Running with Jeff Galloway

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Run Walk Run with Jeff Galloway

There have been a lot of reports lately about the effectiveness of high intensity interval training. They’ve found that HIIT gets faster results, burns more fat, improves metabolism, decreases appetite, and actually improves long-distance endurance better than traditional endurance training.

What most people don’t realize is that Olympian Jeff Galloway pioneered this method of long distance training back in the mid 1970’s. Jeff has trained hundreds of thousands of people for all kinds of events from 5Ks to marathons, and he found that adding walk breaks allowed more people to finish their events without injuries, and often with improved race times. Even veteran runners were able to increase their times by adding walk breaks. Jeff has spent decades trying to convince “real runners” that walk breaks aren’t cheating, and the research is finally catching up with him.

It’s not walking, it’s high intensity interval training

The point of HIIT is that you can push yourself harder and get better results during your work phase as long as you cycle in frequent recovery periods, and this makes even more sense when it comes to long distance running. Endurance athletes have excellent recovery rates, but continuous running never allows the most taxed muscles a chance to recover. People assume that walk breaks slow them down and add time, but the reality is that walk breaks prevent people from running at a slower pace later in their event. Not only does this translate into a similar (if not better) race time, but it drastically reduces the physical and mental toll of these long distance races. Being able to break a long distance into smaller, more manageable chunks is a huge psychological benefit that greatly adds to the enjoyment of the entire event. Interval training also significantly decreases the likelihood of an overuse injury during training.

More than just running and walking

Now that we all agree Jeff Galloway is a running pioneer and genius, I wanted to focus on some additional training features you’ll find in Jeff’s line of lolo apps. We designed his apps to help you easily apply his philosophies and provide you additional tools that will not only improve your endurance, but your technique as well. We all think we know how to run, but most of our assumptions and natural tendencies are wrong. People never apply this thought to running even though it should be no different than any other skill. We could all instinctively pick up a ball and throw it, but to do it properly, we all had to learn the proper techniques. The same is true of running. Proper form will make you run more efficiently, which means you will waste less energy, you’ll move faster, and you’ll put less stress on your body.

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We weren’t born knowing how to run

People assume a long stride and a powerful spring off of each step are the key to proper running form, but it’s actually the opposite. Whether it’s sprinting or long distance running, research shows that athletes’ stride length actually shortens as they get faster. A longer stride decreases your legs’ ability to absorb shock, which increases physical wear and fatigue. When your feet are under your hips on impact, the force travels up your leg evenly. When your foot is in front of your hips, extra shock is forced into the knee, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower back. A longer stride is not only more harmful, but it is less efficient. Your foot has to stay on the ground longer as you move your hips back over your foot so that it can be lifted into the air again. Instead of extending your stride, you need to shorten your stride and increase your turnover (the number of times your feet hit the ground). That’s actually how pedometers determine your speed, they track the amount of time that one foot stays on the ground. The longer the foot stays stuck, the slower you’re going.

Higher turnover also corrects another bad habit, too much bouncing. You don’t want to bound off of each step, that’s just wasted effort. If your feet are properly loaded up under your hips (from a short stride), you are able to gently lift your foot which conserves energy. The less you lift your foot, the more energy you’ll save, plus it will reduce impact (since the foot doesn’t need to fall as far on the next step). Jeff’s apps provide constant reminders and tips on how to correct these major form mistakes and the Half Marathon and Marathon training apps contain additional drills to help refine your distance running technique.

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Music as a metronome

The key to long distance running is to move as efficiently as possible so that you’re not unnecessarily wasting energy. One important way to conserve energy is to move at a consistent pace. I realize this article just finished espousing the benefits of walk breaks, but that’s a separate point. Just to clarify though, when I say consistent pace, I’m only referring to the running portion.

It’s natural to speed up and slow down as you go, but even slight adjustments to your pace will burn unnecessary energy. One of the biggest benefits of Jeff’s running apps is our beat-sync technology that takes your music and sets the beat to the pace you should be going. Research and our own testing has shown that people naturally fall in line with the beat without even trying. It’s a simple, yet incredibly effective tool to help you maintain an efficient, energy-saving pace.

Aside from acting as a perfect metronome for your pace, properly paced music has been shown to distract the brain from discomfort and even improve endurance performance by as much as 20 percent. This means you’ll not only go faster than you normally would without even trying, it won’t feel as difficult.

Your plan, your way

Jeff recommends adjusting your pace or walk run ratio whenever necessary to keep you moving forward in your training, so we made sure you could easily do that in the apps. Maybe you’re exhausted and need to slow down a bit, maybe you need more walk breaks, maybe you’re feeling especially good and want to experiment with different run-walk-run rations, or maybe you’ve reached the last leg of your race and you’re feeling good enough to cut out the walk breaks entirely. Whatever the reason, you can adjust your ratio or your pace (and the accompanying music metronome) at any point during your workout from the main screen. This allows you to easily customize your experience to how your body is feeling.

This reminds me of another question I frequently get. People ask me all the time, “Will the walk breaks automatically get shorter until I’m running all the time?” The simple answer is no, we never adjust them, but as you can see from the evidence above, the point isn’t to get used to running without walk breaks, the point is to use walk breaks to help you run your event better. You can change your walk breaks whenever you want to find the perfect one for you, but you should never remove them from the training plan. You will get better results, in a shorter period of time with a reduced risk of injury by using walk breaks. These all seem like pretty good reasons to keep them throughout your routine and into your event. As the New York Times said, “Real Runners Do Take Walk Breaks.” It’s something Jeff Galloway proved true decades ago, and millions of people are finally listening to his advice.

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Jeff Galloway’s Training Plans

1. Easy 5K with Jeff Galloway: The popular Couch to 5K plan may have a clever name but it’s one-size-fits-all approach may not fit everyone. As I mentioned before, we never force you to change your run-walk-run ratio because the point isn’t to force you to run consistently, but to help you run farther and faster than you normally could, without causing an injury. Easy 5K with Jeff Galloway is a safe, effective way to truly transition from no activity to running a 5K in just 7 weeks. Tailor the program to perfectly fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll progress. For those that have already run a 5K and are looking to improve their speed, Easy 5K has a second 7 week program that will quickly improve your pace. Hopefully it won’t surprise you to know that walk breaks will actually make you faster in your event, which is why they are a big part of the Time Goal training program.

2. Easy 10K with Jeff Galloway: Once you’re completed your first 5K (or feel able to cover a 5K distance), then you’re conditioned enough to train for a 10K. Much like in the 5K app, Easy 10K with Jeff Galloway contains 2 training programs: a 13-week Beginner program to safely build up your mileage for your first race and a 10-week Time Goal program to help you beat your best time.

3. Half Marathon with Jeff Galloway: Just like in Easy 10K, both programs start from the 5K distance. If you feel conditioned enough to conquer a 5K, then you’re ready to take on a half marathon. The Beginner program takes you on an intelligent 17-week progression to help build you up. It’s not a simple matter of adding mileage every week. To keep you healthy during the later weeks of the program, Jeff will reduce the mileage of some long runs and increase it on others to make sure your body has proper recovery time. The 15-week Time Goal program not only has speed training days to push your pace, but special drills like Acceleration Gliders and Cadence Drills to help you refine your form. Half marathon and marathon events really tax your energy stores and the more you can improve your form, the more efficiently you’ll run (and the less energy you’ll waste with each step).

4. Marathon with Jeff Galloway: If you can run a 5K, then you’re ready to train for this elite endurance event. The 30-week Beginner program will push you when you can take it and back off when you need to recover to make sure you get to the starting line of your event strong and injury-free. For those looking to better their time, Jeff’s Time Goal program provides drills like Mile Repeats, Acceleration Gliders, and Cadence Drills that will help you build your speed and improve your form. You’ll also learn how walk breaks will help you run your event faster without feeling wrecked at the end.

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