Running becomes more difficult and intimidating as people age or deal with chronic injuries, but one local running group has found success with Jeff Galloway’s running program, which alternates running intervals with periodic walks to allow people to run injury free.
Galloway was a member of the 1972 Olympic team, and has since coached more than 200,000 runners and walkers. His program is used across the country, and allows runners to cover more distance with less risk of energy by inserting walks into the run in a systematic fashion.
“The premise behind the program is that it allows people to accomplish whatever their goals are with less risk of injury and an increased success of reaching their goal,” said Vivian Schwabish, co-director of the Galloway running group in Ahwatukee Foothills. “Our group ranges from elite to novices.”
The Ahwatukee Foothills chapter of the Galloway program began running together a year ago, and will begin training for the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon on Sept. 26.
Schwabish and other members of the Galloway running group have found that they are able to keep up with other marathon runners who are running the entire duration of the marathon.
“During the intervals that you’re running, you’re able to run faster,” Schwabish said. “In the beginning of a marathon I’ll see someone take off quickly and pass me, but alternating the walk intervals gives us the ability to sustain longer and run faster during the running intervals, and we invariably tend to catch up.”
The Galloway program has also been successful for people running for the first time.
“For newbies the idea of having the walk breaks helps them think running is actually something they can do,” Schwabish said. “Walking is actually part of the training, and it makes it seem doable.”
Over the past year, several runners in the Ahwatukee Foothills Galloway running group have reached their running goals.
Patrick Quinn, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident in his 60’s, joined the running group after he read about Galloway’s philosophy.
“I wanted to be able to run into my old age, but I never knew that I could still be considered a runner by walking and running,” Quinn said. “I’m running another half marathon this weekend, and it’s great because I’ve been able to run injury free.”
Leah Vincent, another Ahwatukee Foothills resident, joined the Galloway group because she had always wanted to run a marathon and because she was new to the area and wanted to meet new people.
“I had tried running a couple of times before, but never really had any motivation to do it,” she said. “After joining the group, I actually look forward to going and meeting with them every Saturday.”
Vincent has enjoyed the friendships she has made in the group with a wide variety of people.
“There are people in their 20’s and others in their early 60’s,” she said. “There’s a spot for every level of runners.”