Monday, June 25, 2007

Ego, get out of the way...

Over the past few weeks, among other things, I've been reading "Jeff Galloway's Book on Running". For those of you not familiar with Jeff, he's been running for four decades, is a former long distance Olympian, and writes a regular column for Runner's World when he's not writing his own bestselling books. I have to think that what Jeff has to say holds a bit of weight.

Jeff is a great believer in walk breaks for all runners, regardless of ability. He's trained thousands of people from elite athletes to those who would be considered not-so-elite, myself being a proud member of the latter. Galloway has documented thousands of cases where veteran runners have improved by 10, 20, 30 minutes and more in marathons by taking walk breaks early and often in the race.

So why all of a sudden the great belief in walk breaks? I must admit, it is born more out of necessity and not so much because of the scientific arguments in favour of walk breaks. You see, the recent problems with my back/pelvis have been causing more trouble as my training program takes me out for Sunday runs lasting more than an hour. At about 30-40 minutes, I feel a sensation in my pelvis that slows me down to a walk, and as most distance runners know, stopping after 3 to 4 miles makes getting going again quite difficult as the legs are pretty much spent.

So today, on a short training run, I decided to try Jeff's method thinking that walk breaks early and often will keep the pelvic pain at bay long enough for me to finish an upcoming 10-mile event. I went out with the group and planned on a 5 minute run/1 minute walk strategy. The result? My overall pace was about 30 seconds per mile faster than usual; maybe Jeff is on to something here.

Galloway also makes no bones about the fact the hardest part of running/walking is the fight one has with his ego - the feelings of not being a runner because of the walking apparently tend to hit hard.

I'm going to give it a serious go this Sunday during a scheduled 90 minute run. I'm not too concerned about battling my running pride - even at my pace, I can out run my ego.

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