The legendary running coach Jeff Galloway has probably trained more marathoners than anyone on earth. Jeff teaches a unique training system that includes regular, brief walking period. He’s also among the few running coaches who encourages those athletes preparing for a marathon to do training runs exceeding 26.2 miles (including the walking segments). Those who follow this advice report that the inclusion of walking segments makes these “overdistance” workouts perfectly manageable. Going beyond the distance of the actual race is also a great confidence builder, especially for first timers.
I recommend a slight modification to Jeff’s approach that I simply call Runabout. Inspired by the Australian Aboriginal practice of Walkabout, it works like this: After you’ve put in some good training and built a fairly decent level of fitness, pick a weekend morning to set out the front door of your house with a running pack, the contents of which should include: some cash, a credit card, a cell phone, some fluid and some snacks—maybe also a map or a GPS if you want to get really sophisticated. Choose a direction (i.e., north) and start running. Keep running until you feel like taking a break, but don’t. Just slow down and jog or walk, but don’t stop moving. The important thing is to keep upright and maintain forward progress. If you get really tired, run by Starbucks and grab a latte. Stick a straw in it and drink it as you shuffle along.
Try to make a complete day of the outing. Better, end up at one of your favorite nearby resorts or spas, and make an evening of it as well. Don’t worry about how many miles you actually run. Focus instead on keeping on your feet and on moving forward, one way or another (be it running, jogging, hiking or walking), for at least six to eight hours. Mostly, have fun and enjoy the experience.
Not only will you get a great workout, it’s an interesting and spontaneous way to spend a day (or series of days!). Funny things happen out there. You have chance encounters, you see things you wouldn’t normally see during your typical daily runs, and it can be quite captivating. Rarely in our modern society do we spend an entire day outside, and there’s just something enchanting and magical about watching a day go by from the exterior of a building rather than stuck inside one. There’s a lot to be learned from those Aboriginals, despite not having a single Starbucks in the outback.
Keepin’ it fresh,