ORN: 5K time trial @ 8:28 pace
Moments after crossing the finish line at the Portland Marathon two weeks ago, I received my medal from a helpful volunteer and turned to look at the finish area, pondering the moment. I saw a runner who finished just after me, wearing a "Galloway Running" shirt. I greeted her, mentioning I used Galloway's methods too.
"Well," she said, "Jeff is right there," motioning to a man just a few feet away talking to someone.
The lady was none other than Barbara Galloway, Jeff's wife. And in short order, less than a minute after we both completed a marathon, I was talking with Jeff Galloway.
I've written extensively on this blog about my application of Jeff's run/walk methods over the past three years. I was surprised and thrilled to be able to tell Jeff himself of my appreciation for what he has done to help me and so many others. In fact, as I told him, it was an ITB injury I suffered at Portland 2006 that triggered my first use of his plans in early 2007.
Jeff was very gracious to chat with me for several minutes in the amply supplied food area of the marathon (thanks for the white grapes and string cheese, marathon organizers!). We moved beyond my own experience, as I asked Jeff how his business was doing and how his seminars went at the Expo the day before. In one way, this mere conversation is testament to his training techniques; within 2 minutes of completing a 26.2 mile run, we were sane, breathing normally, speaking of broader issues...who would imagine that??
Jeff had some other folks walk up to greet him, so I got a photo with him, asked him to take the photo above of me with Barbara and I thanked him again. It was great to talk with someone who has done so much for running.
Later, I got thinking about what had happened. If Jeff finished the race just after I did, we must have run about the same total time. What run/walk plan did Jeff himself use? And what could I learn from this????
When I got home I pulled up the race splits for me and for Jeff. Sparing you the extra numbers, here is the cumulative race pace at each timing mat along the way for the two of us. (Interestingly, Barbara's splits were identical to Jeff's...they were together the entire race).
Distance... Joe's Pace ...Jeff's Pace
6.2 miles... 10:26 ... 10:59
8.9 ..........10:25 ... 11:04
13.1..........10:24 ... 11:04
17.5..........10:30 ... 11:05
20.0.........10:40 ... 11:10
21.1..........10:48 ... 11:11
26.2..........11:02 ... 11:00
Time ......4:48:55 .... 4:48:16
As described in my race report, my run went well through mile 18, when right knee issues slowed me down, evident in my paces. Jeff, on the other hand ran a very steady pace, and then accelerated over the last 5 miles. I ran a 3/1 run/walk. What did Jeff run? Same course, same day, virtually the same time...what was his running strategy? Could I learn it? Wouldn't it be interesting to compare??
So I emailed Jeff and simply asked him! The email found its way to him and he graciously answered my question. He told me he wanted to run a negative split so ran a 1/1 run/walk, through mile 23. Yes. He and Barbara ran one minute and
walked one minute. For 23 miles. From that point, they ran continuously the rest of the way, getting the negative split Jeff wanted. Arm in arm at the finish line.
And, that's when I saw both of them...calm, happy, conversant. Romantic even, in a running sort of way.
What to make of this?? Why do I subject my readers to such arcane analysis?? In his books, Jeff repeatedly makes the point that seemingly severely slow run/walk ratios work wonderfully well for recreational runners, allowing folks to lower the risk of injury and keep a steady pace for long distances. Jeff obviously follows his own advice, enjoys traveling with and running with his lovely wife and is happy to help others do the same.
His advice has been a huge help to me for three years now. He "walks the walk" (pardon the pun) and has been very gracious to so many, many runners. It's worth noting, even to this sort of detail.
Persevere. At any pace.