I started Jeff Galloway's Run Walk Run program this May. I have mixed feelings about this program. I kind of feel like I am cheating. On one hand it has been awesome for the summer heat to mix in walk breaks during my long runs. On the other hand I sort of feel ashamed that I have to walk at all.
In his program the amount you walk depends on how what your goal pace for a mile is. I can run about a ten minute mile. (This probably seems really slow to some but hey I am glad that I can even get out there and do it.) So the program has me run for 2 minutes 30 seconds and then take a minute walk break. There are days when I feel like the 2 1/2 minutes will never be up and there are days when I am amazed that it has already gone by.
I started this program because I was plagued with injury when I started training for my half marathon last January. I had problems with my left knee. I was in a car accident when I was 18 and had to have surgery on that knee because of it. Now I am wearing a knee brace when I run. I had problems with my right ankle. I bought different shoes and the problem seemed to go away. Blisters on my feet have plagued me anytime I run more than 5 miles at a time. I have experimented with many different types of socks. And the biggest issue I faced was once my mileage got over 8 miles I had Piriformis syndrome. This is when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle. I had an awful pain that went from my bum to the back of my left foot. Stretching alleviated the pain but stopping every 3 miles in a 13 mile race to stretch it was annoying. I really wanted to see if Jeff Galloway's method would make all of these issues go away.
Jeff's theory is that by putting walk breaks into your running routine early and often the muscles used for running will not tire as quickly. You will have more energy and stamina to run longer and farther. It seems to be working. I am no longer stopping every 3 miles to stretch my piriformis muscle and although I am still wearing the knee brace, my knee is not hurting.
But I still can not get over the thought that I am some how cheating at running. There is a couple that run just about the same route that I do in the mornings and I always seem to be at one of the walk breaks when they pass me. I always wonder if they think that I am weak or throwing in the towel when they see me stop to walk on the 5 mile loop that we run. I guess that I have to just be grateful that I can get my butt out the door at 5:30am and I am doing something good for my body.