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An Interview With Jeff Galloway, Olympic Athlete and Author

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Mr. Jeff Galloway — best-selling author, Olympic athlete, Runners World columnist, and creator of the Galloway RUN-WALK Method — has a brand new book: Galloway’s 5K/10K Running ( available September, 2007).

Kelly Jad'on: You’ve written several books about running, and you were a 1972 Olympic athlete. What was your race?

Jeff Galloway: I made the team in 10K meter run and was an alternate marathoner.

How did you begin running?

As a 13-year old kid, I was fat and sedentary. In school we were required to participate in a sport. I chose winter track conditioning because I heard it was the easiest. Fortunately, after hiding out in the woods for part of practice, I fell into a group of kids who liked to run.

What is the Galloway Run-Walk method that teaches almost anyone how to complete a marathon?
Jeff Galloway
In 1974, I began to teach a community class on beginning running at Florida State University. No one in class had run for at least five years. I divided the participants into groups: beginners — walking with breaks, more advanced — running with walking breaks, and the most advanced group, fewest walking breaks. All finished either a 5K or a 10K race without injuries. This is rare. The walk-breaks allowed them to remain injury-free. Walk-breaks need to come before people become tired. More than 200,000 people over the years have successfully used this method.

I have also designed a whole system, incorporating a “magic mile,” which is a timed mile. The time is converted to a slow training pace; when followed this means no injuries should occur.

Is running good for anyone?

Practically anyone can walk and run. Our ancestors had to run and walk to survive; it was their means of transportation to the next food supply. The constant movement and migration in small groups developed the human traits of teamwork. They were long distance athletes; we are genetically endowed to be able to run.

Psychologically studies have shown that brain development due to aerobic activity, makes the thinking process more direct and efficient; running enhances the ability to use the brain better. Runners have the highest positive attitude traits and the least amounts of depression. Other studies have shown that physical or chemical changes occur after beginning running. You just feel good.

Mr. Galloway, your books are the current best sellers for running. Tell me about them.

I’ve written ten books, two about walking and eight about running, specifically marathons. My original publication, Galloway’s Book on Running, has sold over 600,000 copies, and is the current best seller of all running books. My recent publications are focused on women – The Women’s Complete Guide to Running, and The Women’s Complete Guide to Walking.

How are walking and running different for women, versus men?

When I started running in 1958, the sport was almost exclusively male. Women began to discover running in the mid 80’s. Today 60-75% of new runners are women. I coach tens of thousands and receive over 100 emails daily, most are from women.

Women generally don’t have the competitive urge that men have. It’s easy to get burned out and discouraged when competition is the primary goal. Men tend to be competitive; if they don’t improve their time, many drop out. Women tend to enjoy the satisfaction and achievement they get from running. For them, it’s about keeping life in balance.

Women are also concerned about physical changes in relationship to running: PMS, menopause, menstrual irregularities, bra fitting, running through pregnancy. My book discusses these important issues and lays worries to rest.

Mr. Galloway, are you still a runner?

In my book, Running Till You’re 100, I write about the aging process, and point out how to keep yourself resilient, and moving forward as years go by. Today I’m 62 and my wife, Barbara is 54. We are both still running, three or four marathons a year. I feel as good as I ever did. I have energy, no aches, and sleep only four hours a night. It maintains what I have.

What is your goal as a coach?

My first goal is to reduce injuries to almost nothing. Overuse, due to fatigue causes injuries. More is not better.

Exercise is generic. It enhances how you feel about yourself and improves your life. For every hour of exercise, you can expect to get returned to you, two hours extended to your life. It also adds to the quality and mental abilities during the last 10-15 years of life.

Mr. Galloway, thank you for your time.
Have a good evening.

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