Jeff Galloway’s Training and Motivation Tips #6, or: “A feeling is so much stronger than a thought…”


I’m sure six is a powerful number in some sorcerous capacity, as I’m sure “sorcerous” is a real word, somewhere. That has heck-all to do with our latest presentation of Jeff Galloway’s Training and Motivation Tips, but I needed a random, fantasy-escapism-themed opening sentence, and there you have it. Speaking of which, have you ever worked numerology on your full name in relation to your birth date? Try it sometime. It’s fine practice if you ever need to create an alias or nom de plume that is cosmically-aligned with your spiritual proclivities. I have one. And I’ll never tell what it is!!

(“Xavier Finkelstein”)…

*ahem* ANYWAY we here at HokeyCorp International are pleased as pigeons to partner with the great Jeff Galloway in order to bring you, our awesomely non-twitchy readers, some tips that will help you in your running, fitness, training, racing, and overall happiness when it comes to strapping on them overpriced kicks and hitting the pavement. And special for today’s tips, Jeff will be focusing on how to become a speedier and more efficient runner, something for which many of us could use some guidance. So without further a-do, here they all in all their glory. Jeff’s tips will be in blue, while my comments will… not be in blue. It’s just that simple. Take it away, Señor Jefe!

by Olympian Jeff Galloway

Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I’ve seen among my coaching clients. Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon. Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances. Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks. The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery. I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Your mileage may vary, but I don’t buy the “To train for a half/full marathon, you only need to run 9/18 miles at the most” train of thought… especially for first timers. Sure you can finish the race, but you won’t finish strong. Or fast. Or happy. When I ran my first Half, my longest training run about 3 weeks before the race was 14 miles. The confidence I carried into the actual event was incalculable, since I already knew I could go the distance (and even beyond!) I also agree with running slower (but not too slow!) during training, since your adrenaline and focus on race-day is going to kick your game up several notches. In my mind, endurance is much more critical than speed; if you have the stamina to run those long miles, the speed will certainly follow.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon. I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace. The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800’s. These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down. See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (

There isn’t a whole lot I can add to this. Speed training absolutely works if you want to get faster. I’ve done sprint intervals in the middle of Half Marathons, and every time I did them I either PR’ed or came super close.

Improve Running Form

Most runners I’ve monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form. As the mechanics become smoother and within one’s limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries. The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.

  • Water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool. When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
  • The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground. This drill is detailed in most of my books. I’ve found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

I can’t say I’ve tried Water Running before, but it sounds pretty interesting. If you can subconsciously train yourself to find the past of least resistance — in this case, the most efficient use of your running power — then you’re going to end up being a much stronger running.

Running cadence is something I personally need to work on. I’m a tall, long-legged doofus so my stride is pretty long. I average around the 155 mark. If I could up that to 170, I’m convinced I’d see much improvement in my pace.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt. On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races. When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance. At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward. But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event. These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances. My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Well you certainly don’t have to twist the arms of any of us obsessive running nerds to get us to run more races. During last summer’s hardcore full marathon training, I ran four halfs and two 10Ks, and I did better at them than I imagined… even PR’ing at the Avengers Half Marathon! It’s encouraging to see serious improvement in your short game as you’re preparing for a longer one.

Hill Training

The only way I’ve found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats. On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride. Walk down the hill for recovery. Don’t sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and at The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race. You’ll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.

A tiny little problem with this: I live in South Florida, where we don’t got no hills. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. Bubkis. Goose Egg. So off to the bridges we go, up and down, down and up, back and forth, one to the other, each to his brother… it gets really repetitive, really quickly. But man do you see results, and you see them quickly. If you don’t have hills, find a bridge. No bridge? Try a landfill or run up a parking garage, if you can. Check with security first. They can get a wee bit surly…

Here’s a quick word from our partner, but stick around for the wrap-up afterward:

blgallowaysavenowSave NOW and register for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 and Barb’s 5K. Prices increases tomorrow May 2nd! Don’t let your readers miss out on these savings!
Register now at
blggallowaypodcastListen and share this great podcast “Jeff Galloway’s Tips For Beginner Runners” with Mark Kennedy from Healthynomics! From how Jeff got running to breathing while you run; it’s all here!

Well there you have it, today’s Jeff Galloway’s Training And Motivation Tips for you to use and enjoy. Come back later in the month for more of Jeff’s insights and stick around for some kibbitzing and a nosh! Meanwhile, here’s the video:

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