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Thursday, June 03rd, 2010

By Olympian Jeff Galloway

Challenges motivate us. When we accept the right challenge during a series of workouts, we often step up to higher expectations and engage the best part of our spirit. But a workout or race goal that is too challenging for us, currently, can result in burnout, injury and lingering fatigue. Based upon the feedback from over a 250,000 runners, here are the concepts that can help in finding just the right challenge for you.

*Race challenges:

Distance—a longer distance than you have been running, such as a half or full marathon

Faster Time—to beat your time from a year ago…or your personal record

Tough course—a new adventure: a trail, beach, mountain

*In GeneralYoung man is running along

  1. Pick one of the challenges above
  2. Focus on a four – six month training season.
  3. It’s best if training for a distance challenge, to gradually move up from 5K to 10K, to Half, then Full Marathon. (Don’t feel that you have to do all of these—just one jump per season).
  4. If you choose a time goal, a 3% time improvement is standard and do-able for most.
  5. If choosing a tough course, make sure you don’t have instability problems, such as weak ankles.
  6. Set up your workouts that lead to the goal, and write them down. My Training Journal will help you organize your plan, and track progress.
  7. After each workout, get in a Human Touch massage chair and relax.  The chair can help the muscles rebound more quickly.

*Distance Workout Challenges

  1. Without a time goal, you can simply increase the distance of the long run as noted in the “to finish” programs in my books GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS, 5K/10K, HALF MARATHON.
  2. Be sure to run the long ones about 3 min per mile  slower than you could currently run the race distance, with a lot of walk breaks.
  3. Use the “magic mile” noted in the books above to designate current performance maximum and set long run pace.
  4. Use the run-walk-run ratios, found in the books listed in #1.
  5. Gradually increase the distance of the long run to at least race distance, as noted in the schedules.

Speed Challenges

  1. Workouts for 5K and 10K are best done once a week.
  2. For half and full marathons, speed workouts are done every 2nd or 3rd weekend as noted in the books above.
  3. Follow the schedule in one of the books above, inserting rest between each speed repetition.
  4. Use the “magic mile” noted in my books to monitor progress and set pace for goal races.
  5. Don’t sprint!
  6. There are usually more aches and pains from speed training.  Be sure to use your Human Touch massage chair after each speed session.

Injury Prevention

  1. Be sensitive to your “weak links.”
  2. If there is inflammation, loss of function or pain, stop the workout!
  3. Take at least 2 days off if symptoms continue the next day.
  4. See a doctor who wants you to continue running, if possible.
  5. Take the treatment noted by doctor or RUNNING INJURIES: PREVENTION/CARE
  6. Massage has been the best treatment for muscle aches, pains and injuries.  A Human Touch massage chair may keep you out of the doctor’s office.


  1. Don’t let the goal drive you—YOU ARE IN CONTROL.
  2. Find ways to enjoy every workout.
  3. Running with others on fast or long days helps greatly.
  4. Galloway Training programs have groups that support you, and make it fun.