Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Twist on "Jeff Galloway Says:" THE DREAM TEAM

Take a walk down memory lane with me...

It's late August 2013 in Disneyland, California. The Disneyland Half Marathon Expo has just opened and there is chaos and long lines everywhere you look. Suddenly, amid the thousands of people snaking around the perimeter of the Disneyland Hotel, waiting on their turn to enter the packet pick-up area, you see a familiar face. Not someone you've met, but someone whose blog you have stalked meticulously read as you prepared for your first trip to Disneyland. You see the one and only Hokeyboy and you can barely contain your excitement. Quickly, you stop mid-sentence exit the conversation you were having and run walk briskly to catch up to Hokeyboy before he disappears into the expo masses.

Tentatively, you approach him and butcher his last name (sorry, Matt!). You try to rationally explain how you recognized him from his pictures on the blog without sounding like you need to be committed. But it doesn't matter. He's totally cool with your stalker-like behavior devotion to his race recaps. You've finally met one of your favorite bloggers and he takes a selfie with the crazy awesome Hokeyblog reader. 

The beginnings of The Dream Team...

And that's how it all began, y'all! I'm lucky enough to call Matt from Hokeyblog a friend and we've teamed up today to bring you the latest and greatest tips from Jeff Galloway. Matt and I are both Galloway Bloggers and devotees of his run walk run method so we figured it would be fun to team up to bring you this edition of Galloway's Training and Motivation Tips

Similar to past posts, Jeff Galloway's comments are in italics, mine are labeled "SR" and Matt's are "HB." This week's topic is pretty near and dear to my heart as lately I've been thinking I should rename this blog "Injured Runner." So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and enjoy Hokey, Sparkly, & Galloway's take on injury prevention.

Why do we get injured?

1.  Be aware of irritation of weak links.

The Key Weak Links are body parts where my runners tend to experience injuries are these: Knees - Feet -Calf - Achilles -Hip - Glute/piriformis/sciatica

But the body parts that YOU need to be aware of are the sites where you are injured or suffer more aches and pains.

SR: Yup, those dang weak links will get you every time! Since I've been recovering from injury, I have been paying attention to every little ache and pain and addressing concerns as they come up. Knowing that I have cranky feet, I keep all that’s connected to my feet (knees, hips, glutes, core, etc.) strong through yoga and different strengthening workouts.

Also, it’s worth taking stock of your form. Use the self-timer on your camera or have someone snap some pictures of you mid-run so you can see maybe why certain areas are always painful for you. I can clearly see how I heel strike in almost all of the photos of me running… that’s probably why my feet aren't in the best shape. I’m working on this, I promise!

HB: I’m holding you to that promise, Sarah. Otherwise you’re getting the next round of Dole Whips. For a year!

Back on topic, I’m suddenly reminded of Karl Malden’s reverend character in the classic Disney film Pollyanna…

He delivers this firebrand “DEATH COMES UNEXPECTEDLY!!!” speech early in the film, but if you will, substitute the rather downer subject of mortality with that of running injuries.
They come unexpectedly. When you least expect them. And many times they are completely avoidable… if you pay attention!

You know, sometimes the hardest part about running is the self-consciousness of it all. I mean, unless you have limitless confidence (as opposed to my own brand of schmucky arrogance), there’s always that part of you which is perpetually concerned about how you look pounding pavement, as opposed to how you feel… more specifically, how you feel in relation to how you’re running. Maybe it’s not until mile 3 or 4 of a long run when you realize you've been striking with the upper side of your foot or your shoulders are locked in place and your back’s too stiff, and of course by the time the pain comes it’s pretty much too late to steer back on course.

So definitely pay attention to your injured areas first and foremost, but keep a close vigil on your form. And by all means call an audible if something feels “off”; there’s never any shame on taking a break to walk, stop, or stretch, even mid-race, if it means protecting your most valuable running investment (besides your Garmin, those $200 shoes, and Run Disney registration fees).

2. Stress buildup due to the way we train.

  • Training schedule is too intense-not enough rest between stress.
HB: Señor Jefe advocates a three day a week running schedule, and this is really all the run time you need to go the distance. It allows plenty of time for cross-training and rest. Both are critical for long-term health and success. Besides, you gotta allow for one day of blissful nothingness!

SR: TAKE A DAY OR TWO OFF! Seriously, I talk to runners all the time who run every day- you really don’t need to and doing so can lead to injury. So take a breather at least once a week- it won’t affect your training negatively. I trained for the Dopey Challenge running only three times a week.

  • Adverse Training Components-speed is too fast or has too much, too soon.
HB: Running is a slow-burn, long-haul commitment. Like anything else in life, you need to grow and develop into your own space, at your own pace. This is not just for beginners but experienced runners as well. If you haven’t hit the road for a long time (due to injury, life commitments, lethargy, whatever), you can’t rush back into where you were at your peak. ESPECIALLY if you signed up for a race and think you can just condense training into a few short days or weeks. Start slow and build up again.

SR: Did you know that it can take a month or more for your bones to respond to increased distance/speed training? Basically, your bones take a longer time to strengthen than your muscles, heart, and respiratory system. So even though you can feel improvement in those areas, don’t rush the training too fast- give your skeletal system time to catch up!

  • Running form-too long a stride, forward lean, bouncing too high off the ground.
HB: You ever see those bouncy runners, the ones whose form seem to indicate that they took personal exemption from the laws of gravity and wind up several inches off the ground with each step, knees high in the air, almost effortless with their lithe, deeply expressionist panther-like movements? You don’t have to be Carnac the Magnificent to foretell the painful arthroscopic surgeries in their future… I just showed my age there :(

SR: Just remember the “marathon shuffle:” quick turn-over, short stride, feet low to the ground. It helps prevent injury and keeps you from expending too much energy too early.

So staying focused on the way one runs and following these guidelines, can often allow runners to maintain a manageable increase without injury

Top 5 ways to avoid stress buildup-and avoid injuries

1. Take walk breaks more frequently, and run shorter run segments

SR: Coming back from the stress fracture, I started with 4:1 intervals- four minutes walking, one minute running. It’s what helped me ease back into distance running after four months off.

HB: I’m actually surprised at how much resistance there is to intervals among so many, even new runners. They’re convinced that it’s not ‘real’ running. You know what’s not ‘real’ running? Laying on the couch with your foot wrapped, iced, elevated, and out of commission due to a blown Achilles tendon or PF.

2. Form: shorter stride, feet low to the ground

SR: I like to call this the “marathon shuffle” and during long runs I keep my feet as close to the ground as possible.

HB: As opposed to my “zombie shuffle”, which is when I hit the wall at Mile 20 and where I’m making running motions but moving barely past walking speed, while hungering for brains and looking at the flowers! Or something. No but seriously, short and quick is the way to go if you really want to go the distance.

3. Slower long runs, with more walk breaks

SR: I pretty much have one speed- nice and easy, with plenty of walk breaks.

HB: You and me both. With my size and body frame, I’ll never be Barry Allen or Pietro Maximoff (NERD ALERT!), but what I strive for in my long runs is consistency and endurance. Slow and steady ALWAYS wins the race.

4. Avoid Stretching

SR: I’m definitely an advocate of stretching- but only AFTER running when your muscles are warm and pliable. Doing any kind of stretching when your muscles are cold doesn't benefit you and can actually lead to injury.

HB: I've heard Señor Jefe on several podcasts advocating not stretching at all, either before or after. Obviously do what feels right to you, but static stretching before running is a definite no-no. I’m a firm believer in your first mile or two being adequate warm-up, but there’s nothing wrong with doing some light jogging or determined walks before a long run.

5. Be careful when running speed sessions

SR: Yeah, see my comment for #3. I don’t feel the need for speed ☺

HB: I feel the need… the need for a Speedo! But that’s neither here nor there… (awkward) *ahem* ANYWAY speed work at the track or on a treadmill is definitely beneficial in helping increase your overall speed… but yikes, please don’t kill yourself. I see these people at the gym all the time, with the treadmill jacked up at 8, 9, even up to 10 mph… and as they desperately try to keep up with this demanding velocity, THEY’RE HOLDING ON TO THE SIDES OF THE MACHINE FOR DEAR LIFE! Schadenfreude notwithstanding, it’s still a disaster waiting to happen.

So there you have it- Hokey, Sparkly, & Galloway's tips for injury prevention!

What would you add to this list?

Updates from Jeff Galloway:

Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 with no risk!  The 2nd annual half marathon on Dec. 13, 2015 is currently $95. You can sign up with no risk! Take advantage of this low price, and if you can't make it, you can roll into the virtual option with no extra charge!
Register today at Jeff Galloway 13.1!

Carmel, CA
April 23-24, 2015 

Lake Tahoe, CA
July 23 - 30, 2015 (week)
July 24 - 26, 2015 (weekend) 

About Hokeyboy: 
Hokeyboy, aka Matthew Millheiser, has been blogging for a few short years and writing about himself in the third-person since about 15 seconds ago. When he's not engaging in semi-amusingly circuitous meta-humor, he engages his inner passions for all sorts of obsessive geekery: music, movies, travel, information technology, gaming, full-contact Mahjong, Googling alternate spellings for "Mahjong", and wondering what the hell "Mahjong" is in the first place. Oh, and of course, obsessing over all things running and all things Disney, especially running at the Disney properties, and running to the local black market organ donation centers to finance running at the Disney properties. A six-foot-two Aquarius who despises long walks on the beach, because any native Floridian loathes the beach and the ones who say they don't are big fat freakin' liars, he lives with his adoringly beautiful and extremely patient wife Kim and their two perfectly ridiculous felines Lucas (named after George) and Austen (named after Jane) in the smarmy suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Come check out what makes him tick over at his nifty and Sparkly Runner-approved blog Hokeyblog


  1. Cute post Hokey and Sparkly! I believe wholeheartedly that 3 times a week of running is enough IF you do strength training and cross train 2-3 times per week. This has been my plan since I started running 4 years ago and other than stupid injuries that I caused (not running related) it has worked great. There have been a few weeks when I have run 4 times, like during Dopey Challenge training, but those are very infrequent. You can improve with quality runs instead of quantity!

    1. Quality over quantity works in my book too! Just doing one thing seven days a week can lead to injury- cross training is essential to running well :-)