Running and Walking Back to Physical and Mental Health

I’m a run walker. I’m not ashamed to admit it, although some people seem to find it a difficult fact to accept. Since experiencing problems moving from 5k up to 10k I’ve followed Jeff Galloway’s Run:Walk system and to great effect. My first half marathon race came in at 2:22, a very respectable time for anyone, not just a 48 year old previous non-runner.

Jeff has produced apps for the iPhone designed to coach your through 5k, 10k, half and full marathon distances in preparation for races. I’ve used all of these bar the full marathon one, which I don’t think I’ll ever use. Well maybe when I’m retired and have more time to train. The apps are fully adjustable for age, weight, height, pace and the all important run:walk ratio. When you start they recommend running an 11 min/mile pace at 3:1 intervals.

I’m also a medal slut and a stat junkie.

I have to get a medal and a good time. In my perverse desire to be better and faster, I ramped those up to 10 min/mile pace and 4:1 intervals and then 7 min:40 sec intervals. I was wrong to do this and now I’m broken.

I am playing this game all wrong. 

I should be listening to my body more, altering the ratios and pace to suit, slowing down when I’m not in the zone or feeling sluggish. Instead I’m punishing myself for not being the machine I obviously  want to be. Do I really want to be a machine? Of course not.

Here’s the deal.

I want to enjoy running. I want to head out and be pleased that I’ve run 3, 6, 14 and 17 miles, not disappointed that I only ran them in x amount of minutes. Really who the hell cares, other than me, how fast I was? I’m not training for the Olympics here, I’m just trying to stay healthy.

And, of course, by pushing myself far too hard I’ve done the opposite. I’ve hurt myself good and proper.

I am a fool.

Now that I’ve realised this, I need to act on it. I need to stop this headlong hurtle into oblivion and give myself a good talking to! When I started training I was a happy 3:1 ratio runner. I achieved loads running in that way. I coped well with 4:1 and completed the Great North Run and all the prior training using that. Going away from that has made me a less content runner. And a slower and less healthy one. So why did I stray from something that was working?


Not all runners accept the Galloway System as a proper running programme. They see walking as a cop out and deride run:walk devotees. I fell into the trap of thinking that by running the entire distance it would make me a better runner. They are wrong and so was I to fall for it. They made me feel a lesser person. I experienced guilt for the first time in a long time. Way back when I started my “friend” Jack would mock my run:walk programme. I ditched him as a confidante, but the guilt he instilled was still there.

No more.

I am a run walker. I will continue along this path because I know that it works and I know that if I don’t I will get hurt. Today starts my renewed passion for Jeff Galloway and his miraculous programme.


4 thoughts on “Running and Walking Back to Physical and Mental Health

    1. Thanks, John. I am feeling more foolish than ashamed at the moment, but the turning point was downloading the Extra Mile Podcast from iTunes and really listening to what people were saying.

  1. I used a Jeff Galloway pacer to complete the first 11 miles of the Walt Disney World Marathon. I’d never tried it before but it really worked. There’s no way I could have got 11 miles otherwise! I’m stuck at the minute trying to find a plan that works for me. I might check out the Jeff Galloway apps you mentioned

    1. It’s tough getting over that thought that you should be running all the time, but it’s tougher being injured!

      The App Store has all of the apps and they’re made by LoLo. Good luck – I’ll be interested to see how you get on!

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