your question to email@example.com
with "Ask Jeff" in the subject line. Or mail your question to:
Galloway Productions, Attn: Ask Jeff
4651 Roswell Road, I-802
Atlanta, GA 30342.
Due to the overwhelming number of questions we receive, we can't
promise an individual answer to each one.
Q: Hi Jeff, I have heard you talking about one downhill
running technique that you called "gliding". Could you explain how
to do it and what's its benefit, etc?
Jeff: Keep your feet low to the ground, touch down very
lightly with each foot, and don't let the stride length get too
long. When runners go astray, they let the stride length get an
inch or two too long. Just let gravity pull you down the hill, coasting
all the way.
I walk almost daily, but have avoided running because I hear so
much about knee problems. Does running lead to knee replacement
later in life? - Kathy J.
JEFF: According to the joint doctors I've talked with
(some of the best in the US) running produces positive effects on
the joints. While there are many folks (including doctors who are
irrationally prejudiced against running) who will tell you not to
run, the long term studies on runners (40-50 years) show that runners
have healthier joints than non runners. The key, is to insert short
jogs into your walk, and see how you feel. It is the continuous
running, without walking, that causes aggravation. Even so, there's
no evidence that running produces more negative wear than the regular
aging process, unless there is pre-existing structural damage (very
rare). Many orthopedists have told me that running makes the joints
more efficient, stronger, and better irrigated with blood.
My new book RUNNING: GETTING STARTED has lots of info on the
benefits and a 6 month program to get into running at your pace.
It is available, autographed, from our website and you can email
questions as you read. You'd also get a lot out of my one day schools
and retreats: highly motivating with individualized information.
DEAR JEFF: What is a realistic goal for me?
JEFF: Run several 5K races throughout the training program on non-long-run
weekends. Look at the Predicting Race Performance Chart
and then see what your 5K time equivalent is in the marathon.
Add 10-20 minutes because this prediction assumes that 1) the course
is perfectly flat, 2) the temperature is below 51 degrees F, 3)
there is less then 25% humidity, 4) there is no wind, and 5) there
are no turns on the course.
If it's your first marathon, add an hour to the adjusted predicted
time. If you have run a marathon before and want to finish feeling
good, add 30-90 minutes to that adjusted time. But everyone, including
trained competitive athletes, should add at least 10 minutes of
adjustment to the predicted time.
DEAR JEFF: What is XT? I see this all over your website.
JEFF: XT means cross training. On non-running days, XT can give
the attitude boost we need while it bestows additional conditioning.
The best programs are those which are fun, and therefore draw you
back to them again and again.
As in any form of conditioning, the best exercises to get in shape
as "back-ups" for the running muscles are those which
best use the leg muscles in the running way. Water running has produced
the best effect for large numbers of marathoners. Cross country
ski machines have also produced a high level of running conditioning.
Exercise which elevate the body temperature, keep it up, and use
lots of muscle cells are best. Cross country ski machines, rowing
machines, and then cycling and other indoor machines can help increase
the fat-burning effect. Beware of the Stair machines: they use many
of the same muscles used in running. The means they aren't the best
choice for alternative exercise on a rest day from running.
Q: Hi, I am a cross country runner. My best time is, to
what I think is slow, 18:32. Although at age 16 I ran my first marathon.
I still feel I am not doing anything right. I live in Okinawa, Japan.
The weather is humid and hot. I am writing you about how to train
in the heat. I know the key is to drink water, but I was wondering
what else I should do. Since I live in a tropical area, it rains
a lot. Is there a key to training and racing in the heat. Basically
what I am asking you is how should I run during the rain, both racing
and training. Also how should I train and race in the heat?
Jeff: The key to training in hot weather is adaptation. All
of your internal systems will adapt to better heat training and
performance if you take it easy at the beginning of all runs. If
you're scheduled for a 4 mile speed workout, for example, add an
extra mile of warm-up. Run these first 2 miles very, easy--1-2 min
a mile slower than you are currently running them. On very hot days
when you are scheduled to run slowly, you can break up the distance
into 2 or 3 runs. Long runs must be run at one time, but you may
put 1 min walk breaks into long ones, every 4-5 minutes from the
beginning to reduce the heat impact.
Q: I'm following your 4:00 Marathon training program from
"Galloway's Book on Running" and I have a question about the hill
workout. I know that I'm looking for a hill with a 10-15% grade.
How long should the hill be? Also, the workout program says "4 (Hills)".
I'm assuming that's 4 runs up the hill, not 4 miles of running up
the hill. Just wanted to confirm that!
Jeff: The notation on the training schedule means 4 miles total
(warm up, warm down, jogging between hills, etc). As to the number
of hills, you would start with 2-4 and add one each week, increasing
to 5-8 hills. The grade should be gentle, allowing you to run with
good rhythm to the top. The distance should be 100-200 yds (1-2
football fields in length).
Should I wear a hat while running in the sun?
Q: I have been running for 30 years and lately I have been researching
the net and various books on running to try to determine whether
or not I should wear a running cap when running in the sun. I know
that running in hot, sunny weather is not recommended, but due to
my schedule it's oftentimes the only time I can run. Some running
articles say that in hot weather you should keep exposed as much
skin as possible to expedite cooling. For example, wear a singlet
rather than a t-shirt. Most other sources recommend wearing loose
fitting clothes to protect the skin from the sun. I am mostly bald,
and have been wearing a coolmax (Nike) running cap. However, I am
wondering if I would be better off from a body heat standpoint to
not wear the cap.
Jeff: Like you, I am "hair challenged" and must run in sun most
of the time. If you wear a hat you will build up more heat, sweat
more, and feel more uncomfortable. I recommend using some good sun
block, and running without a hat. You lose up to 70% of the body
heat you can lose through the top of your head. A hat will keep
most of this from happening.
I need to speed up.
Q: I run three and four days a week sometimes everyday. I am in
the military and forced to do this. Every quarter I have to take
a physical fitness test. Over the last year my run times have been
dropping from 11:30 to now a 14:15 my question is what can I do
before a pt test to improve my score i.e., foods to eats before
a pt test or stretching exercises that I can do beforehand. Also,
what can I do to improve the overall time permanently.
Jeff: There are two workouts you can do, each week, for 6 weeks before
a test, to improve your time: Increase your long run by one additional
mile per week, up to 5-6 miles. Run these slowly and put in one
min walk breaks, every 4-5 min from the beginning. You want to finish
these feeling strong--not wiped out. One day a week, go to a track
and run an interval workout. After a half mile warmup, run a lap
about 5-7 sec faster than you want to run in the race itself. Walk
for half a lap and do another. Repeat for 4 x 400 meters the first
time. Increase by one additional lap until you can do 10 x 400.
Take two days off of running before your test Pace the race so that
you are running the first 2-3 laps about 3-5 seconds each faster
than you want to average.
Former smoker needs help with an exercise program
Q: I watched you on "The Big Breakfast" in Edmonton this morning
and thought I could email you this scenario as you seemed so positive.
1. 45 yrs of age, never an athlete of any kind.
2. Quit smoking one year ago and have put on close to 50+ pounds.
3. Am bored to death with walking, and when I try to run I can barely
get a minute in without feeling like I got run over!!
4. Is running out for me? How do I honestly start and will I ever
have enough wind to run? Could use some easy tips.
Jeff: Congratulations on stopping smoking. I work with folks every
day like yourself. Yes, you can do it! The best opportunity is to
go to the Running Room stores and join their LEARN TO RUN clinic.
The group support is very effective. Right now, I'd recommend walking
for 3-4 minutes and taking a 1 min sit down break. This works the
same way a walk break does for runners. Gradually increase your
walks to 30 min. Then you could start extending the time between
breaks, eventually cutting them out. At that point, you could add
a one min jog break, every 5 min. That's how to start.
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