Interview With Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway is an American Olympian and the author of Galloway’s Book on Running. A lifetime runner, Galloway was an All-American collegiate athlete and a member of the 1972 US Olympic Team in the 10,000 meters. Visit Jeff’s website at www.jeffgalloway.com

I am lucky and grateful to call Jeff a friend and a role model. Jeff has inspire me to reach beyond what I have thought possible and has always been there to encourage me through adversity and in times of achievement. Jeff is someone that can relate to all runners of all ages and abilities and that makes Jeff not only an asset to the community but professor of the sport.

Below are some questions Jeff took the time to answer for us! Thanks Jeff !!!!

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How did you get into running?

Over 50 years ago, as a 13 year old fat child, I signed up for winter cross country because of a school requirement.  I was surprised to find that even a tiring run empowered me to think better with more energy.  I continued to run because of the special honest friendships and how it made me a happier and more positive person.

What has been your most memorable race or running memory throughout your life so far?

* qualifying for the 1972 US Olympic team, unexpectedly, in the 10K.  I was in last place for the first mile and worked my way into second place behind my teammate Frank Shorter

* helping my teammate Jack Bacheler qualify for the Olympic team in the marathon by pacing him through the entire race when he was struggling.  I backed up at the finish line so he could be the official qualifier.

* Founding Phidippides–the oldest continuous running store in the US, in 1973.

* setting up the Galloway training program method in  1976–which has has been used by over a million to start training, to finish distances that seems impossible, and qualify for Boston.

* inventing the Run-Walk-Run method which allows almost everyone to finish a half or full marathon without injury or pain.

* Over 40 years ago, I realized that I enjoyed helping average people improve the quality of their lives though running–as much as I enjoyed my own running.  This gets better every year.

Who is or has been your greatest role model?

There have been three: 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, Bill Bowerman, Elliott Galloway (my father)

What are 3 lessons you wish you would have learned earlier on in your running career?

1.    Recovery must be balanced with stress—to allow the body to adapt and improve.  Strategic walk breaks are the best way to build recovery into a workout.

2.    One can receive the same endurance from a long run that is very slow. In fact, a slower long run pace reduces recovery time and injury risk.

3.    The greatest benefits from running are those to mind and spirit.

What is your running shoe of choice while training? And racing? 

I have several that I use, with no favorite.

There seems to be different schools of thought on the benefits of higher mileage over lower mileage and more intensity (ie. Lydiard / Pfitzinger vs. FIRST (Furman Institute of Running)… what are your thoughts on mileage and intensity. 

For 40 years, I have trained quite a few busy people who run only three days a week—who often improve times compared with running more days a week. Excluding world class athletes, I believe that finding some fun every day is important.  For improvement, quality is more important than quantity.  But for endurance, it is best to run long runs beyond race distance.

Runners are always looking for quick easy meals that are easily digested and not real expensive. What were some of your staples back in the days of those high mileage weeks?

At the world class level, many athletes succeed in spite of their diet.  I consumed a lot of ice cream until PowerBar came along.  I currently run a marathon each month and use an all fruit product called Superfruit SF7x—no additives.

What is your opinion on core and strength training now and has that changed from when you were running and racing 15-20 years ago.

I’ve discovered that 10 different coaches tend to have very different definitions of “core training” and I don’t believe the term has any meaning.  Starting 45 years ago, I included “postural muscle” strengthening into my training week.  The simple “arm running” exercise has helped thousands of my clients maintain great postural strength, while taking only about 10 minutes, twice a week.

You continue to run and work with runners of all abilities, it is obvious that in order to improve as a runner you need to run more but where does cross-training fit into the equation and in your opinion, what is the most effective cross-training that a runner can do to improve their running while accomplishing the purpose of cross-training?

Based upon research and feedback from tens of thousands of runners on this subject I believe that cross training can improve overall health but is unlikely to improve running.  Aqua-jogging is the only cross training exercise that I have seen help thousands of runners improve—by modifying the leg motion to be more efficient.

Your favorite inspirational book? Favorite inspirational movie?

Book: Perfect Mile    Movies: Prefontaine, Running Brave, Indulgence

What are your thoughts on the current state of athletes taking banned substances in professional track & field and do you see it moving into long distance events like the marathon?

Distance running, through history, has been one of the most pure and uplifting expressions of the human spirit.  There will always be a few cheaters who violate this natural pursuit of excellence.  May they be caught and banned for life—not a year or two.

 

 

 

 

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