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Additional Gallowalking Comments

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11/26/99 

I appreciate your comments, Chris. But, it looks like we are going to have to agree to disagree.

Certainly, there are many runners who can and do benefit from Galloway's method and improve their marathon times. I wouldn't doubt if most runners could do so since, as Bob Banks said, most participants in marathons run positive splits. Anything that will guide them to even or negative splits will help. I passed scores, maybe hundreds, of people walking or jogging in the last 6 miles at the very hot Philly Marathon last Sunday who would probably have run a better race if they had used Gallowalks....and an even better one if they had paced themselves properly for the conditions that existed. Heck, I would have benefited from anything....even Gallowalks....that would have slowed me down by 5 sec/mile over the first half. But it was because I simply didn't adjust my pace plan quite enough to account for the warm, humid conditions we had, not because my basic race plan was faulty.

I would never intentionally imply that Galloway is a charlatan or is trying to dupe the public, Chris. In fact, I think I said repeatedly that I think he has helped many, many runners to finish marathons and to improve on their marathon performances.

My discussion about disproving his 13-minute improvement claim was to demonstrate that it must be based on data from people who had previously been unable to run well paced marathons.....people who, because of faulty race execution, have been unable to realize the potential they are trained to run. It cannot be because the walk breaks permit running a faster pace than one is trained to sustain for 26.2 miles. As you said, you simply can t do that. My experiment last year was an attempt to do that and it failed. BTW, I also predicted on these forums before I tried it that I expected it to fail. But I had to try it. As I said, Galloway is a heck of a salesman. ;)

I agree that Gallowalks can help many, many runners to produce better marathon times than they have previously been able to run. However, my opinion is that Gallowalks won't produce the best performance that an experienced marathoner is capable of for a given level of training. There is a difference in a runner's capability and his/her ability to realize it under race conditions. And I think Gallowalks guarantee a built-in bias from reaching your full capability. BTW, I don t think the difference is huge. Probably something in the neighborhood of a few minutes.

As far as the other gurus are concerned. Certainly, it's a business for all of them, as you said. But so it is for Galloway, also. He makes his living from promoting his method. It’s a niche that he recognized and works hard to promulgate. However, if hard evidence that such a radical departure from conventional methods truly does optimize marathon performance existed, the other gurus would be hard pressed to deny them. And, I certainly didn't mean to imply that because they don t embrace Galloway's system that it must not be any good. I said repeatedly that it has a lot of value. Producing the best marathon you should be capable of running just isn't part of its value. Although the programs of the other experts differ in specifics, they are all based on the same set of training and racing fundamental elements which have been learned from generations of runners and coaches who preceded them. They didn't dream these things up or have some proprietary interest they are trying to protect. Galloway has introduced a new fundamental element. The others have rejected incorporating it into their programs. To claim that the others are hesitant to embrace Galloway's innovation because it would detract from their programs is like the mother who, while watching a band march, said, "Look. Everyone is out of step but my son!"

BTW, Galloway is a participant in RW marathon pacing groups where RW representatives pace groups of runners through marathons. Galloway leads his pacing group with Gallowalks. (He brought his group to a walk right in front of me at the 1-mile point of the Disney Marathon last January and I had to fight my way through a pack of 20-30 of instant walkers to keep going. I could have killed him!) But, I don't know of any other RW pacer who uses Gallowalks to lead his/her pacing group.

No, I don t plan to try the entire Galloway program, Chris. At my age, I might not have a lot of marathons left in me and I want to make the most of every one. Last year's experiment was a one-time event that I did on a whim. Like Bob Banks said in his post, I intend to devote my energy toward striving for optimally paced races without walk breaks because I believe that produces the best results. There are really only three keys to doing that: 1) Determine a realistic goal time based on your training level and expected race conditions (course and weather);. 2) Establish a smart race plan that reflects the course variations; and 3) discipline yourself to follow the plan while being flexible to adjust on the run based on how you actually feel during the race. Three easy things to say, but three difficult things to do. There is more risk of poor race performances with this approach because of all the variables that are involved. But, there is also the potential for an optimum race that doesn't exist with Gallowalking.

BTW, out of curiosity, I just checked the new 1999 edition of Bob Glover's book, The Competitive Runner s Handbook to see if he has anything to say on this subject. I was surprised and pleased to find that he addresses it very directly and states very clearly what he thinks of Gallowalking, which supports everything I have said here on the forums on the subject for the last 3 years. I'll end this post with his words:

"A few trainers promote planned walk breaks at each mile mark during marathons. They claim even experienced runners will run faster times this way----with walk breaks of 15 seconds to a minute per mile. True, this strategy will keep runners who can't hold back the pace from starting too fast and dying too soon. It'll help undertrained runners finish stronger; otherwise they run as long as they can and then walk. By then they can't walk very fast either. This planned walk approach is appealing to runners that don't or won't put in the necessary time to train properly. So, if you want to take it easy for whatever reason, go ahead----walk-run the marathon. But don't brag to people that you ran the marathon. You participated, enjoyed yourself, and finished. That's an achievement and has its own rewards. But to be a conquering hero, train to do your best. To do that, you'll need to race the marathon on the run."

Jim2