If you told Trish Taylor that one day she would be running marathons—that’s plural—she would have laughed at you.
“I was the kid not picked for sports,” she said, shaking her head. “I ran in the past. It was nothing I ever committed to long term.”
She joined the Pensacola Galloway running group in 2009 and now has become that person. That person that can withstand a marathon and still have energy, that person that runs at 6:30 on a Saturday morning.
Sure, she’s lost weight. She tends to feed her body better foods to improve her running. She claims to hardly ever get sick. But what really made Taylor stick to the Galloway program is the motivation you get from achieving a seemingly hard to reach goal, and being around encouraging people.
“It’s about seeing what the human body can achieve,” she said. “I’m motivated by being with people. I tried Zumba, but you have to pay too close of attention. I really enjoy committing to something and seeing it through.”
“My plan is to age without taking drugs,” Taylor adds. “The more you lookout for yourself, the better it is for your health.”
An Olympic Method
The Galloway method was developed by Jeff Galloway, a member of the 1972 Olympic team. Galloway’s philosophy is to run injury free using walk breaks.
“Since I’ve started running, the worst injury I’ve had was a blister,” Taylor said.
According to Galloway’s website, walk breaks significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. Walk breaks early in a race erase fatigue, and toward the end of a race, walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.
Those runners you see cross the finish line out of nowhere could very well be using the Galloway method.
“I have a friend that I ran a 10k with,” Taylor said. “She ran the whole race and we used the Galloway method. We beat her. If you take a break you have more to give.”
When you walk, and for how long you walk, during a race depends on how fast you run a mile. When you join the Galloway group you run what is called the magic mile as fast as you can and the program director will determine the ratio at which you run and walk.
Jackie Brown, the program director of not only the Pensacola Galloway group, but also the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon, ran her first marathon at the age of 44. In the eight years that she began using the Galloway method (six of which she has been the program director of Pensacola Galloway) she has run 11 marathons and too many shorter distance races to count.
Brown didn’t intend on starting a Galloway group, but after using the method with a friend to run her first marathon she was pleasantly surprised with the results.
“On race day we got to 20 miles and I said to myself, ‘This isn’t so bad,’” she said. “When we were done with the race we said, ‘We gotta tell people about this program.’”
And because you run injury-free you have less recovery time from a marathon.
“The day after the marathon we got manicures and pedicures—and ice cream,” Brown said with a laugh.
Brown became a certified Galloway trainer once she knew it worked.
“We have a very high success rate,” she said. “People are reaching their goals of running half marathons and marathons. If you follow the program the results are exactly what you want them to be.”
A Group Effort
Echoing Taylor, Brown notes that running is a group effort.
“Everybody is depending on the group,” she said. “We run rain or shine, but not in the lightning.”
While individuals or small groups run throughout the week, it’s important that everyone show up for the long distance weekly runs.
“The idea of doing 12 miles on your own is depressing,” Taylor said.
And if no one else is available, your Galloway leader is a phone call away.
“When I was training for the Pensacola Beach marathon Jackie came and ran with me in the pouring rain,” Taylor said.
After running miles upon miles with people, you develop more than just a workout buddy, but true friendships. The group is planning to sign up for a race that benefits breast cancer research in honor of a running mate.
Even when you’re out of town, you can still use the network of Galloway groups to continue training. There are groups scattered throughout the United States.
“If I’m going to be in New York City, I can call the program director and ask to run with them and the answer is always yes,” Brown said.
Right now, there are about 120 people in the Pensacola Galloway group, which is divided in the marathon group, half marathon group and the getting started group, which prepares you for either a 5k or 10k race.
“If you look at our group, there’s all shapes and sizes,” Brown said. “Some of these people have never done any exercise in their life.”
Jessica Forbes says she only exercised sporadically before with low-impact workouts like walking or yoga. When she began to run, it was for beer.
“Just before discovering Galloway, I had begun attending the Pensacola Bay Brewery’s Running Club, mainly for the discount on beer afterward,” she joked.
Watching middle-aged family members fight diabetes and heart disease, and with encouragement from fellow runners Taylor and Elisabeth Soileau, Forbes joined the Galloway group last fall and has run three races since.
“Prior to running and using the Galloway method, I was a fairly sedentary person,” she said. “Fitness was not something I made time for. I would have never imagined a few years ago that running would become a part of my life, that I’d be dragging myself out of bed to run most Saturdays at 6:00 or 6:30 a.m.”
The group hasn’t just changed her Saturday mornings but her overall attitude.
“Basically it’s taught me that anyone can take control of their health,” Forbes said. “Once I began running, not only did I lose weight, but I also feel better in general. Anytime I don’t want to get out of bed to run, I tell myself: you’ll feel better afterward.”
The Galloway method isn’t just for beginners either, after all, an Olympian did create it. Soileau ran track in high school and college and loved the idea of combining running and walking in a race.
“I can complete a race just as fast as some people who run the whole thing and not be as tired and recover quicker,” she said. “What’s not to love about that?”
Ready to Sign Up?
Joining the Galloway group is pretty easy. Just contact Jackie and let her know which program you’d like to join. Programs range around $89 to $159 and include the Galloway book and t-shirt. There are also alumni discounts.
“Plus,” Jackie adds about the perks. “You get direct access to Jeff Galloway. Anything I can’t answer I’ll send him an e-mail and he responds.”
It’s important to note, too, that everyone has his or her own goals and expectations. You can become a runner at your own pace.
“I think the most important thing to know is that you have to start somewhere and you should be patient with yourself,” said Forbes. “Don’t worry about what others around you are doing, do what you’re capable of and be proud of that. It’s totally cliché, but if I can do this, anyone can.”
And even if you don’t have confidence in yourself, Brown does.
“It’s a life changing experience,” she said. “You accomplish something you never thought you could. But I have never met a person and worried if they could do this program.”
CONTACT: Jackie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-9445