When you're looking for someone to help you train for a community road race, you turn to a former Olympian 10,000 meter runner, and a coach to over a million runners and walkers, namely Jeff Galloway.

Galloway, based out of Atlanta, said he first became involved with Run Wild Missoula seven years ago, and since then, has gained thousands of devotees to what he calls 'The Galloway Training Program', now active in over 80 communities across the country.

Galloway said the basis of his successful program is a concept called 'Run - Walk - Run' now underway in Missoula.

"In the first few runs, we use a one-mile course to sort folks into homogeneous pace groups," Galloway said. "By using my method with a one-mile time trial, you're not running real hard, just at what pace seems doable to you. It's wonderful in finding a safe pace for the longer races, with an amount of running and walking that will allow you to get there. In bumping from a 5k to a half-marathon the method makes it all totally doable"

Galloway said the idea is simplicity itself.

"The way it works is to start with small amounts of running followed by walking," he said. "What I'd recommend is to start with 10 seconds of running followed by 30 seconds of walking. The gauge that we use is the natural heart rate monitor, and that is huffing and puffing. It's well known that your respiration rate is tied to your heart rate. When you start to huff and puff, you're getting into what is called oxygen debt, which means you're exercising at a workload for you that your muscles aren't getting an adequate amount of oxygen to burn fat. If we go into oxygen debt early in a run, the end of the run is not going to be fun and we may lose our motivation to go on."

Galloway said the Run - Walk - Run method is particularly effective in the longer races.

"If you just stay with that short amount of running followed by walking, because it keeps erasing the fatigue," he said. "The runner always believes that can run for 15 or 20 seconds at a time as long as they know they can walk afterwards. To get to a half-marathon, you start with where you are now, and increase your distance by a mile every other week. You'll gradually build up to that 14 mile distance two weeks before the race itself."

Galloway said there is a cost to join a training group, and Run Wild Missoula's website states the total cost of the 19 week half-marathon class is about $81. The program begins on February 26.


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