Galloway Training – September 19 – Bad Runs or Walks are Great Teachers

Training season is a challenge by itself for us. We start in April and go for 29 weeks. We worry about shoes, hydration and clothing, oversleeping for the very early starts and then…we have a run or walk during the season that is beyond awful. If you’ve had a bad run or walk this season, to that I say, CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations for a bad workout? Absolutely! The bad workout gives you the opportunity to review all of the things that didn’t go as planned, examine contributing factors and have a plan to manage similar issues should they ever happen again. Case in point – I received texts and emails from several of you who ran the Revenge of the Penguin 20 miler on Sunday. When the first person came to me, I thought it was just her experience, and then I heard from a few other people, who had very similar difficulties. The most interesting thing is that when I asked what was so awful, not one of them mentioned the distance as a problem. They listed boredom, lack of on course support, difficult surface and that is was a mentally tough event.

The biggest issue I heard about was a mental hurdle. The Penguin race is an out and back course along the Towpath. It’s crushed gravel, trees on either side of the canal, and that’s about it – BORING. As you’ve read in Jeff Galloway’s books, blogs and tweets, the mental part of distance running and walking is very taxing, and you need to find ways to combat it. When you come up against a course that isn’t entertaining, what do you do? You can only talk so much, and if you’re listening to music, sometimes it’s still not enough. Consider visualization. Think about some of the great runs or walks you’ve had and imagine you are there. Have a prayer, song or mantra to repeat. Have one that is encouraging, amusing or calming – cover all of your bases.

Your bad run or walk may not have a mental component, but it will have something that crops up that you weren’t prepared to deal with, that throws you off your game. That surprise is now your teacher. Go over the undesirable experience, share it with others and talk your way through scenarios that would have helped pull you out of the pit. Dissect it so that you can understand how it works against you and how you can recover from it. For some issues you may tackle them head on, for others you need to find a way around them or a tunnel under them. Your goal is to think about options and to learn to be very flexible and adaptable. Like I’ve said to some of you, fill your tool kit.

Every step you take this season is a lesson learned. Running in the thick air, the rain, the Magic Mile, the blisters and black toenails – each experience makes you a more knowledgeable distance runner and walker. More knowledgeable because you will always seek out ways to improve your situation as it happens rather than wallow in the yuck du jour. Your training, good and bad, means that each race should be concerned that it can’t take you down. Each race will have to work hard to stop you because you know how to be better, smarter and craftier in tackling each mile, even if that means just going with the flow. When a run or walk gives you lemons…

Galloway Training – September 5 – It’s Shoe-time!

It’s September and in most parts of the US, race season has gotten under way. This also means that running stores and shoe makers will start to get low on stock, and you need to get the shoes you will finish the season with and wear for your race(s).

Anyone who got shoes in April, May or June should not, I repeat, should not, be using that same shoe for the remaining training runs and walks or their goal race. That shoe is DEAD and could allow you to get injured at a point in the season where your recovery and a return to workouts may not happen until after your goal race. Six months of training, wasted!

You should think about planning this Saturday or next, that you’ll join the group for a run, a quick group breakfast, and from there hit your favorite running store. (Bring baby wipes to freshen yourself if you’re worried about offending the staff.) You want to shoe shop after a run because your feet will be a bit swollen and your body will be more perceptive to how the new shoes fit and feel. This will help ensure that you get a shoe that won’t be too small on race day. If you can’t go after a run, go after work – many stores are open until 8pm during the week.

When shopping at this time of year, bring an open mind because as availability declines, you may find that you need to consider a different brand or model of shoe. Switching brands or models isn’t a bad thing, but it can be an adjustment. If you need to switch it up, by getting your shoes now, you have enough time to evaluate the new shoes and if needed, swap them out. Don’t be afraid to tell staff you have a race coming up, and ask them to hold your Plan B shoe, while the try to order your Plan A shoe from the vendor. You may need to leave a deposit, but a bird in the hand…

In addition to your shoes, get a couple new pairs of socks, wash and wear them 1-2 times and then put them on the shelf for race day. New socks on race day are a guilty pleasure, but they feel so good. Not only that, but if you compare the fluff and nap of the new socks to a pair you have now that you thought you’d race in, you will find that your current pair just isn’t as fluffy as the new ones. Fresh socks…the perfect complement to your new shoes.