September 14, 2010

Why I Wanted to be a Jeff Galloway Training Programs Program Director!

I was recently interviewed by a journalist from the Ventura County Star (local newspaper) regarding the start-up of the Ventura County Galloway Training Program. After reviewing my written responses to the interview questions, I thought “Hey, this would be a great blog about why I wanted to start this program, what it is about the Galloway training programs that attracted me to this training style, and why I’m a believer!!” I have included the original questions for reference. I will post the printed interview after it runs the first week in November as I’m sure it will be a much abbreviated version of my verbose responses. LOL!

What is your role/title with the Galloway Program for Ventura County (and how does this relate to the Great Race of Agoura?) My title is Program Director for Ventura County Galloway Training Programs. My role is to coordinate training groups for races we choose to target and train for. For this first Ventura County Galloway training group, our target race is one of the Great Race of Agoura half marathons. There are 2 to choose from!
How, exactly, will the Galloway Program tie in/relate to the Great Race of Agoura? This is our first goal race. I chose this event as our group’s first race because I have personally run both the 10K and one of the half marathons - the Pacific Half Marathon. This event ranks high on my list of enjoyable and well organized running events, with a strong sense of community and support. Using the Galloway training program, I set a personal best at this half marathon just this year! The Old Agoura 10K is ranked one of the top 10Ks in the U.S.!

For folks/readers unfamiliar with the Galloway Program for Ventura County: What is this training program all about? What makes this particular training program so special/unique/significant? This Training Program is unique in that it employs the run/walk/run method and is an excellent fit for both beginners and veterans alike. The addition of walk breaks reduces injuries, diminishes fatigue and improves both speed and running capacity. The ratio of time spent running to walking depends on your fitness level and the pace at which you want to run. Many runners find it challenging to run alone, but a group dynamic can make it a much more enjoyable experience. All of our training programs will have pace groups to accommodate varying fitness levels and personal goals. A pace group leader will help runners maintain their target pace during group runs, as well as provide support and encouragement. Galloway training programs offer the unique opportunity to truly enjoy the act of running in a way that many people have not considered possible.
Specifically: Who or what initially inspired you to try the Galloway Training Program? (when and how did you discover this program? did someone tell you about it? did a role model inspire you? Please explain who or what brought you to this program) When (what year) did you first implement Galloway, and why? (were you preparing for a race? were you looking for a new way to train? please explain) What was it about the Galloway Training Program that attracted you, and why are you now an advocate of the program? (obviously this wonderful training method had an impact on you personally: please elaborate on this a bit)

I made a promise to myself in my early 20’s that I would run a marathon by my 40th birthday. It seemed like an almost impossible dream since I could only run about 3 miles continuously at that time, so a 17-year plan seemed like a ‘safe bet’ to make. Flash-forward to March 2007. I had just turned 34, started a new job that I loved, and felt like I was entering a new chapter in my life. It was at this time that I remembered that promise I had made to myself and I thought, “What am I waiting for? Why not start now?” I had let other things in my life lead me away from exercising altogether for almost 5 years at that point. I had done some short-distance running off and on for about 10 years – mostly 3-5 milers, with only one single 8-mile run under my belt in 2000.

I have a BS in Exercise Physiology and have worked in a couple of different academic labs doing research on various aspects of exercise. It is, without a doubt, my passion. So when I decided that I wasn’t going to let one more day go by that I wasn’t actively pursuing my “Marathon by 40” goal, it seemed natural for me to dive into and research every aspect of running I could find. It didn’t take long to find a beginner’s program that had a run/walk training schedule that looked very do-able to me. It seemed less threatening and scary than trying to run continuously, so I bought a book that promised to get me off the couch and running a half marathon in 6 months. I followed it to the letter.

While I did complete my first half marathon 6 months later, I ran it with a lot of back and knee pain which I now realize was due to the schedule I had been following. It was too much, too soon; and the recommended walk breaks were 10-20 minutes apart. I had to take 4 months off from running and went through 2 months of physical therapy. I knew I had to try something different. This is when I came across Jeff Galloway’s run/walk/run training programs. His programs offer much shorter intervals, ranging from 30 sec run/60sec walk, up to 4 min run/30sec walk (depending on your target running pace). The articles I read about him (former ’72 Olympian) and his ideas behind the value of the walk breaks made a lot of sense to me. He wants to run until he’s 100, and so do I! I understand the effects of high impact sports on the human body, and as someone who had recently gotten hurt following a different run/walk program, I really wanted to give this program a shot.

It was around April of 2008 that I started following one of Jeff’s Half Marathon programs. I was still having some pain that was lingering from the other program I had used the year before, but with Jeff’s program, I was able to continue running while actively healing at the same time. I made a few mistakes along the way, like we all do. Feeling a little over-confident at times; thinking I could add a few more miles in along the way or do more speed/hill work than was on the schedule. It didn’t take long before these additions I made started negatively affecting my ability to run. I knew I had to get back on track and put all of my faith in Jeff’s proven methods for being able to train and run injury free!

Unfortunately, I had already done enough damage with my personal revisions to the program that I developed a very common running injury, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). With the use of a compression wrap made for this injury (similar to a brace) and by sticking with Jeff’s program, I was able to run that same half marathon in 2008 (a year later) 25 minutes faster than the year before. WOW!!

By this time, several of my friends and family members (including my husband) started asking me questions about this run/walk/run program I was using. They were witnessing a positive change in me, both mentally and physically, and they wanted it to be a part of their lives too. I started sharing all of Jeff’s theories, recommended his books, and consulted with them as they started their running journey (and still do today!). These friends and family members had never considered running distances ‘for fun’ or for exercise in general previously - some had never exercised regularly in their lives. Some were former heavy smokers, some had told me when I first started this journey that they “hated running” and “would never do it”, most were in their mid 30’s or early 40’s, and many also wanted to lose some weight. I couldn’t be more thrilled to report that most of the people I informally consulted with, using the Galloway training programs, have run not only their first half marathon, but also their first full marathon – all within 4 to12 months after taking their first steps.

I continued to struggle in 2009 a little with the IT band problems I created for myself by going off the program, but by continuing to follow Jeff’s schedule and with the use of the IT brace, I was able to continue training with minimal pain. I learned a lot about myself as I started training for my first full marathon in 2009. This would be a new Galloway program I hadn’t tried before, running distances I never thought I’d be able to do. I won’t lie and say it was easy. I overcame a lot of self-imposed limiting thoughts and beliefs I had about myself and what I was capable (or not capable) of doing. I learned through Jeff’s books about relaxing and gliding during long runs, the visualization process and the importance of positive self-talk and self-imagery. I learned that running is not just about putting one foot in front of the other, it is a process of self-discovery, finding out who you really are and having the confidence to achieve the goals you set for yourself, setting aside those self-limiting impositions!

I used 2009 as a physical strengthening and confidence building year as opposed to worrying about speed and how hard I could push myself. Using Jeff’s “Marathon to Finish” program (as opposed to aiming for a specific finishing time), by December 2009, both my husband and I were trained and ready to run our very first marathon in January 2010 at Walt Disney World. When we arrived at the marathon the morning of the race, I realized I had left my IT band brace at the hotel room and for a brief minute, I thought there was no way I would be able to get through the marathon without it. Had it not been for Jeff’s run/walk/run method and the coping techniques I learned through his books and columns, I know I wouldn’t have been able to cross the finish line. I had reached my “Marathon by 40” goal just 1 month shy of my 37th birthday!

Now that I have been following Jeff training programs consistently for the last 18 months, I have been pain-free for almost this entire year (no IT brace anymore!), setting 3 consecutive Half Marathon personal records - one in March (at the Great Race of Agoura), one in June, and then finally breaking 2 hours at the Disneyland Half Marathon this past Sunday (9/5/2010). Finishing a Half Marathon in under 2 hours was a life goal for me back in 2007, and using Jeff’s training programs, I have already surpassed it, and am more confident than ever that by sticking to Jeff’s plans, I am capable of so much more. I am running my 2nd marathon in November and expect my time will improve as dramatically as my half marathon times have this year.

This program works for all levels of runners. Jeff was recently named the Official Training Consultant for runDisney. I spoke with him at the Disneyland Half Marathon Health and Fitness Expo this past weekend and he is very excited about our new Ventura County Galloway Training Program! Jeff offers Running Schools around the country and we enthusiastically discussed holding one in early 2011 in Ventura County.

I received an email a couple of days following the Disneyland Half from a runner who has run this race for the last 5 years, and their finishing time has actually gotten slower. When this person heard about Jeff’s programs at the Health and Fitness Expo, they were intrigued and contacted me about joining our new program to help them reach their goal of a faster finishing time. This is exactly why I wanted to start a Ventura County Galloway Training Program. I have a passion for this sport. I understand what it feels like to be a beginner and how it feels to be frustrated as an experienced runner who can’t seem to reach a goal on their own. I know I can help anyone achieve their running goals using Jeff’s programs.

How has this program had a positive impact on your life since you discovered it?Aside from what I mentioned above, (“I learned that running is not just about putting one foot in front of the other, it is a process of self-discovery, finding out who you really are and having the confidence to achieve the goals you set for yourself, setting aside those self-limiting impositions!”), what this program has also done for me is being given the opportunity to share this knowledge and passion with friends and loved ones, and guide them through Jeff’s programs. My personal successes aside, I take great pride in the fact  that these programs have positively impacted others in the same way it has impacted me, and we talk endlessly about new goals and new experiences, sharing in each other’s successes and providing support and encouragement through challenging times. We have family runs now on vacations and over the holidays. We bond with best-friends over an 8-miler at the beach. Running introduces a new kind of bond with others, and maybe more importantly, with yourself. A bond that instills confidence, enlightenment, support, encouragement, discipline and friendship.

The day I started training for my first half marathon really was the first day of the rest of my life. I have more confidence, self-discipline, better eating habits and an overall healthier relationship with my body and my mind. I am more aware of self-talk and the impact it has on not just my running performance, but daily life activities as well. I set goals for myself without limitations. The least of what I’ve learned about myself these last 3.5 years is that my possibilities are endless.

What is the ultimate goal of this effort? Our ultimate goal is to provide a safe and effective training program to help runners achieve their personal goals in a fun, supportive environment.

Are there events coming up in the near future that would prompt a run date? please explain what Galloway is offering between now and the Great Race of Agoura, and please include dates/times/meeting locations, etc.)
Our half marathon training program is 17 weeks in length, so the kick off dates are determined by the target race date. The kick off meeting for this first Half Marathon training group will be on 12/1/10 at Foot Pursuit in Simi Valley at 6pm. The address is 4324 Cochran Street. All program members who have registered and paid for the program will receive a 10% discount at the store. Their running experts will analyze your gait and help find the shoe that’s right for you!

All training group members receive Jeff Galloway’s Training Programs book, an Official Program coolmax t-shirt, direct email connection to Jeff and discounts at Jeff’s Retreats and Running Schools.

The first group run will be in Simi Valley on 12/4/10, and then every Saturday morning at 7am until race day! All group runs will be within Ventura County. We will announce the exact location as we get closer to the kick off meeting date.

Our first full Marathon training group will be forming in 2011 and will be approximately 35 weeks in length. Please keep checking our page on and for new 2011 Marathon and Half Marathon training program announcements!

Are there any requirements to be a part of this training group? The only requirement is to register through the site. If you are concerned about any medical conditions, please consult with your doctor before deciding to join. We are offering the first group run for free to give everyone an opportunity to come out and experience what this program has to offer them. Please feel free to bring a friend or family member with you!

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in joining or learning more about the program! For those not close to Ventura County, please visit to find a training group near you.


chris mcpeake said...

great post
love the blog

Mon said...

Hi There, I am putting together an LA HLB bloggies meet-up for a 1:00 p.m. lunch on Saturday, October 23.

If you are interested in joining us please email me at and let me know.