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After getting shin splints while training for my first half marathon, I took a visit to sports medicine for some advice. Knowing that I was definitely not ready to give up running, I wanted to discuss some ways to try to avoid injury while training. While I not only got some great exercises to do regularly, he also gave me some great encouragement. He encouraged me to take walks (“look into the Galloway method”), and to train my heart to withstand exercise for the length of time I’d be running, and that didn’t have to just be through running. I took both of those to heart.

Almost to the finish line of my first half marathon!

This second time around, I’ve cut back on days of running and increased my days of cross training. I’ve also used the Galloway method, and I’ve loved it! According to his website, Galloway says this:

“Why do walk breaks work? 
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not.

Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.” (source)

I’ve definitely found this to be true. This method also supposedly helps to reduce your chance of injury, and obviously helps to reduce the amount of force your body takes while on runs. As I increase my mileage in training, I start to employ the Galloway method. Generally speaking I run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute (sometimes I do 4:1 instead).

One of the things I was hesitant about is that I’m already a slow runner, and I didn’t want to be even slower. I’ve found that I run faster during my running minutes because I have a chance to regularly catch my breath and recover, and my pace times haven’t suffered! In fact, many of my runs are actually faster when I use the Galloway method! It works!

I use the runkeeper app on my phone, and it audibly cues me when to walk and run, which I like. This is what it looks like:

This was at the end of my 7 mile run this past weekend.

So there you go. I use this method during my long training runs, and I used it to complete my half marathon in May. I hope that it will be more successful when I race my second half marathon in November since I will have trained this way (I didn’t really train this way for my first). Here’s to successful and injury free running!

Now it’s your turn to share! Have you ever used the Galloway Method before? If yes- what do you enjoy about it? Have you ever crashed towards the end of a race before (I have. It wasn’t fun.)? 

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a certified fitness trainer. I’m simply sharing a concept that I’ve applied to my own personal fitness journey. Please talk to a doctor before beginning any new fitness activity.