Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Galloway Method and Asthma

I mentioned in my previous post Jeff Galloway's training plans and I really can't stress how much I enjoyed using his plan. Jeff Galloway is famous not only for being an olympian, but also for his run/walk method that has helped hundreds of people enjoy running.

Jeff Galloway
Here's why Jeff says that the run/walk method is so wonderful:
"Short walk breaks, when taken early and regularly, will restore resiliency to the main running muscles and extend their capacity at the end of the run, plus ease fatigue, speed up recovery and more!"

  • Restore resiliency to the main running muscles before they fatigue.
  • Extend the capacity of the running muscles at the end of the run because you are shifting the workload between the walking and the running muscles.
  • Virtually erase fatigue with each early walk break by keeping your pace and effort level conservative in the early stages.
  • Allow those with some types of previous injuries to train for marathons without further injury.
  • Allow runners to improve 10 to 40 minutes in their marathon compared with running continuously.
  • Speed up recovery from each long run.

I'd like to add that running intervals usually burns more calories which is always nice. It also makes running for asthmatics so much easier. I ran a half marathon (still can't believe it) in about the same time several other runners who ran continuously did, but I can't go farther than a full mile continuously. So how does the run/walk stuff work? 

Based on your pace goal for the run and how you are feeling choose a run/walk interval that works for you. Here's some ideas of where to start:
Run-walk-run ratio should correspond to the pace used (Runners).
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 35 seconds
9 min/mi— 4 min run-1 min walk
10 min/mi—-3:1
11 min/mi—2:30-1
12 min/mi—-2:1
13 min/mi—-1:1
14 min/mi—30 sec run/30 sec walk
15 min/mi—30 sec/45 sec
16 min/mi—30 sec/60 sec

After that just stick to the intervals for your run (from the very beginning before you even feel tired) and watch yourself improve. One important thing to remember is that these obviously aren't perfect times. If you walk really slow or run really fast your time will be way off. Sometimes my 3:2 run is slower than my 1:1. It depends on the day and your speeds. Another big tip I have is don't be married to an interval. For a while I was really stuck on 2:1. Now on shorter runs I try to speed up, and longer runs I allow myself to slow down so that I can finish strong. Also if you're an asthmatic like me, really play around with the intervals. Some days I found it was much easier to run 2:2 vs 30:30 and some days the other way around felt better. Don't get discouraged if you're struggling with it. My final tip is to make sure you don't walk too fast. This is where injuries happen. It's easier to increase your running speed than walking without injury so, really use your walk breaks to walk. Super speed-walking=bad. I personally walk around 3.8mph but everyone is different. 

Now onto his training plans. A lot of half marathon training plans have you running every day. His plans are nice and easy. You have two short "maintenance runs" a week on tuesdays and thursdays. These runs are for 30 minutes. Then on the weekends you have a long run or a 5k alternating each weekend. The long runs get longer each time as well.  I loved his plan for several reasons:
  • It was realistic with time available- I felt like I could do 3 times a week, especially if I only had to do short 30 minute runs during the week.
  • It made me feel prepared - Many plans stop at 12 miles before a half, and Jeff's goes to 14. This was so helpful because I went into the race knowing I could not only finish it, but I could keep going. 
  • The running was easily adaptable for an asthmatic- I feel like many plans I looked at are very focused on pace and speed. Jeff's plan focuses on accomplishing the distance, which is a much more realistic goal for asthmatics. With asthma you can work your butt off and run a 14 minute mile one day and barely try and run a 12 the next. But distance is a goal that is less impacted by your asthma and more by your willpower so it is more fulfilling. The plan also provided plenty or rest so you don't wear yourself out. 
I highly recommend this plan to anyone who wants to run smarter, but even more so for my wheezers out there. So here comes a long list of links:


  1. I love that you posted this! It looks like a great plan, much better than what I am following right now! It seems like it is ideal for people who have trouble breathing or who are just starting out!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Can't wait to start!

  3. No problem guys! Good luck Drew! Hope you like it as much as me :)

  4. I am so happy that I stumbled across your blog. Finally, someone who understands me! My friends don't understand how hard running can be with asthma. I only wish I had found this a few weeks ago. I did my first 5K this past weekend (the Warrior Dash) and while it was fun, it was so intense (And I have been sick with an upper respiratory infection, so that didn't help.)
    I am definitely going to use this interval method when I start running again (after the sickness) and I'll be sure to check out your blog! :)

  5. Just read your asthma page and have definitely figured out a similar system that works for me! I also use my inhaler as a preventative about 20min before I run and 98% of the time I don't have an attack during a run. Like you, if there are lots of aggravators in the air (dirt, pollen, etc... especially if it is windy) I can sometimes have an asthma attack during a run. And like you, its something I've had all my life and don't know what its like to not worry about having an inhaler in my car, gym bag, fuel pack, by my nightstand in case of an emergency!

    P.S. Heading to pharmacy to get a flu shot soon!

  6. Have you tried the Jeff Galloway apps? Specifically the 1/2 Marathon app? Just wondering if there is any feedback on it before I purchase it, because it's rather pricey.

  7. Thanks so much for this! I was feeling really low about having to take walk breaks, good to know that it is not only OK but actually recommended! Just been out this morning and used the Galloway method - shaved 6 mins off my fastest 5km time!!

  8. Great article---I came here from another post you wrote and think you give such great advice. I'm here b/c i just ran a 5K and am bummed with my time and with how HARD it was. I seriously almost threw up as I crossed the finish line. Here's the thing: I used the Galloway method for a 10K in July and had a great run, but I was getting stubborn about "needing to walk" and wanted to push through it. I get so frustrated that my lungs don't want to "work" as well as everyone else's, but I needed to read your blog tonight. It makes me rethink why I run in the first place (good health, that happy "runner's high", fun road races) and not feel funny about doing walk breaks.

    To Anonymous: I used his 5k and 10k apps and they are both great. Considering the 1/2 marathon one but nervous about trying it.

  9. YOU ALL ARE AWESOME!!! I also have had asthma all my life and I was starting to get discouraged after years of wheeze attacks before after and while running. Its nice to find other amazing people out there with amazing advice and motivation thank you

  10. Thank you for posting on asthma and running, your links didn't work for me but i still found the right pages:
    your plan was at: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/half-marathon-training/
    and the 5k was at http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/5k10kschedules/
    just in case anyone was looking at this recently like me :)

  11. I'm late to the party here, but as an asthmatic runner, the post and the comments here are incredibly helpful. I've been using the run/walk method but felt like I need to run "the whole way" to be a real runner. Cue nasty asthma attack this morning on my training run. Thanks for posting this, and for the links, and I'm not going to be ashamed of taking walking breaks - this is what I need to do for my body, and the aim is the distance not the time: thank you for reminding me of this.

  12. Thank you for posting about your struggle with asthma and running! I was roped into running with a friend about 5 years ago. She'd been running all her life, but as a newbie to the running scene, I was getting frustrated that I wasn't seeing any improvement in my running! I've been struggling with asthma for many years, and trying to change training plans for people who don't struggle to breathe so they'd work for me wasn't really working. After I took this last year off running for various reasons, it's obvious now that what I was doing was helping me breath more than I thought. I'm going to try some of what you've posted about, mostly the training program of walking/running and I'm going to let go of the unattainable (for now, anyway) dream of running more than a mile while still breathing. Thank you! I'm also going to share what I learn with my daughter, who also has asthma, with the hopes that she's young enough now and can learn better how to control her symptoms and not have it slow her down! Thank you for that, too!

  13. Thanks for the post. I have a 5K obstacle run in 2 days and I was highly doubtful if I could do it. Now I feel much confident and I will definitely try this run walk technique to beat my asthma. Thanks for sharing :)

  14. If you happen to work in a state that has bans of smoking in their buildings, then you should do the same thing in your home as well. Doing so might also help in the way of keeping fire out of your homes as well. This might even help give you that extra push to stop smoking, especially if you happen to live in the colder northern states. Most of you do not want to have to go out in the cold and snow to smoke cigarettes. Rocky Mountain Air

  15. Thank you for much of the information you post about Asthma 101. In my pre-diagnosis days, I was an avid half marathon runner. Now, post-diagnosis, I am trying to find my new normal and am learning how to run again. Your advise and tips have been a great tool for me as I start this new journey. I do like the Jeff Galloway method (knew of this before) and have integrated it with my training program (adopted from Hal Higdon). I am still learning, but hope that I can complete my next challenge.

  16. I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point, You just got a new biggest fan!.. social network

  17. Dealing with this disease is a pretty hard task, so I'd highly recommend you to get a professional consultation with the most experienced and certified doctor. Plus, you are welcome to read our special blog post dedicated to this problem: http://livecustomwriting.com/blog/asthma-essay-an-awful-disease

  18. Thanks for the shared post! It's better to control your state and never give up! Asthma is an awful disease, and we have to fight against it all together, as a whole!

  19. On the off chance that you cut the lemons up into little pieces, and breathe in the fragrance of the lemons it will enhance your breathing, and diminishing manifestations. Asthma case Arizona

  20. A claim for future treatment will be made up of multiple elements. There will be the claim for the treatment itself, usually claimed at the private rate.https://tadalafilgen.com/ So the cost of the treatment if you purchased it from a private treating doctor or surgeon.

  21. Remove the canister through the Ventolin inhaler and allow warm water run on it for about half a minute.Dr. W. Michael Scheld