After months of training using run-walk-run, today was the day to put Jeff Galloway’s training method to the test. And what better way to do it than by taking part in Jeff Galloway’s own virtual half-marathon?
I set out early-ish and headed for the seafront to revisit the half-marathon route that I had used back in April. Back then, I hadn’t been training for a half-marathon but just wanted to see if I could go the distance. It had been a bit of a struggle but I’d tried to run as much of it as possible and ended up with a time of 2:33:36. Not too bad considering I hadn’t been training for it, but I wanted to see if I could improve on that time having now trained using run-walk-run.
I was hoping for a time of under 2:30:00 so I figured that I needed to try to hit an average pace of 7:00 mins per kilometre. However, one of the problems with run-walk-run is that it can be difficult to gauge your average pace – depending on the ratio that you are using, some of the splits are going to have more walking than running, which will slow things down a bit. So, with that in mind, I decided to try to keep each split under 7:00 minutes where possible.
The first half of the run went really well. Despite the cold and drizzle, I felt pretty comfortable and was surprised to see that I had managed to keep my pace well below the 7 minute target. Which is just as well really, because when I reached the end of the path at Saltdean and had to turn around, I was confronted by a 19 kph headwind (according to my Garmin). This probably explains why I had found the first half so easy, but now it was time to redress the balance.
As I was running on the undercliff path, there was no protection at all from the wind, but I plugged on, sticking to my 3 minutes running and one minute walking ratio, and trying to run as close to the cliff wall as possible to avoid the waves that were starting to crash over the sea wall, soaking the path and anyone on it. Luckily, I didn’t get drenched by any waves, but I did get pretty soaked from the spray. I think it was probably raining too, but it was hard to tell at that point.
Pushing against the wind, it was pretty much impossible for me to sustain my sub-7 minute pace. Even walking was tough! But I decided not to worry about it and just focus on completing each running section. This really helped as I wasn’t thinking about the distance at all. All I had to do was run for three minutes, walk for a minute, wipe the rain/spray from my glasses and then start running again.
Once I was off the undercliff path, things seemed a little easier. The route was still pretty exposed, but being a little bit further from the waves meant I wasn’t getting quite as wet and I knew I would soon be back on the familiar ground of Hove promenade.
As I approached Hove seafront, the wind was starting to get pretty strong again – the kind of strong winds that usually send me back up to the more sheltered streets around central Hove. But with only a couple of kilometres to go, that wasn’t an option. Besides, I knew that when I reached my starting point I would be a little short of the 21.1 kilometres that I needed, which meant I could allow myself to turn around again and take advantage of the wind behind me.
With or without the tailwind for the final half kilometre or so, however, I knew that I was on target to achieve my sub 2:30:00 goal. I even allowed myself to keep going for a bit longer than 21.1K, just to make sure the Garmin hadn’t gone wrong anywhere, and finally crossed the virtual finish line with a PB of 2:28:02.
Ok, so I know it’s not a very fast time by a lot of people’s standards, but by my standards it’s exactly where I wanted to be at this stage in my training. I guess it goes to show that run-walk-run can work after all.
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