Who knew so many lessons could be learned
in a single week of group training??
What an AWESOME (lesson-learning) week!
And now for the school analogy......
I believe you will agree. The first week of school is typically confusing:
Uncertainty and confusion, the norm: School personnel trying to get students placed correctly (and quickly); students trying to settle into classes while their schedules may change two or three times during those first few days; trying to make friends in their classes, get to know their teachers, understand the routines and procedures, oh, AND get back on a ‘school night’ sleeping schedule after staying up (and getting up) all hours during summer.
Yep, the first week of group training resembled the first week of school very much……
Lots of questions. Lots of uncertainty. Lots of adjusting. Lots of figuring it all out!
“Am I in the right class?”
On Monday afternoon, 12 hours before group training was to begin, after having increasing anxiety all day, I sent an e-mail to the director of Marathonfest:
“Hi Susan, I don’t think I’m quite ready for Marathonfest. I think the Galloway Training Program (a marathon/half-marathon training program as well, but with a specific training philosophy: run injury-free!) might be a better fit for me. What do you think?”
I received an e-mail back within minutes:
“Hi Robin, whichever group feels best to you is completely fine. We can move you as you wish. Just let me know.”
Whew! I immediately felt better. You see, when I decided to do this ‘group thing’ a few months ago, I read about the various training programs and decided Galloway Training was the best fit since I'm an over-40 runner w/ health issues and frankly, not worried about picking up my speed. Then, when it came time to register, I chose Marathonfest.
My rationale: “I don’t walk to run and walk. I want to run. Galloway Training is for beginners.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
You can read more here about this multi-marathoner's program.
Jeff Galloway is an Olympian and a coach with a proven training program.
But as is the case with all the best lessons learned in life,
I had to get in the thick of it and
pain humility to learn the lesson(s).
And this week I did ~ especially Saturday morning*!
After Tuesday morning’s initial awkwardness and questions (you can read about it here), my buddy, Lauren, found her ‘class’ and I found mine (which I left out in my earlier post on purpose): The Galloway Training Group. We’re at the ‘same school’ but taking ‘different classes’ …..
When I found the group (far away from the other group, which must mean they are the remedial kids, right??) I took a quick assessment:
- LOTS of people (100 or so?), of all shapes and sizes (including several ‘runner-types’ – lean, athletic looking, tech shirts….they clearly were NOT newbies, which surprised me)
- Mostly women, but a handful of guys, too
I found Donna, the Assistant Director for Galloway Training/Orlando, introduced myself, and listened with the group for further directions.
“Hi guys, I’m Donna…. (She welcomed us, introduced the pace group leaders, and gave some basic directions). Okay, find your pace group and get ready for your first run.”
Each group leader told the larger group their pace time and run/walk intervals. Why walk? you ask. That's not what 'real runners' do. I beg to differ. Read about it here. I was clueless to the intervals part, but heard the 12:30 – 13:30 loud and clear when Debbie announced her group's pace. I knew which group was mine!
Tuesday’s run was identified as an ‘easy’ run, which I didn’t learn until two days later when I finally had access to the Members side of the website (you can’t have a syllabus until you’re IN the class, right?), and saw the schedule. (A very organized program, indeed!)
When I learned that that was what the run was, it made sense because when we started out that morning, I remember thinking:
“This is good. I feel right where I’m supposed to be,” as I ran at the front* of our large group, with a few others.
While we ran, Debbie and her group co-leader, Charity, kept a close eye on us and shared tips:
"Cotton is the enemy. Wear tech fabrics..." (I was glad I decided against the race t-shirt that I knew better than to wear, but felt it would be okay in the early morning hours. Wrong! It was hot/humid at 5:00 a.m.)
"Body Glide is your best friend." (Yep. Have it for longer runs.)
"Wear light-colored clothing, especially when we run before sunrise. Reflective strips and blinking lights are also good." (Oops. Had on a black tech shirt and black shorts. Newbie mistake!)
"Watch for traffic. Run against traffic. Listen for traffic calls": Car up! (car approaching ahead) Car back! (car approaching behind)
It was a good run. I talked with a few others in the group (a little), listened to others' conversations (a little), and mostly listened to the sounds of a running group: the lumbered breathing of a few; bodily sounds followed (or not) by "Oh, excuse me," (I think I giggled a few times at this) and the one I liked most ~ the melodic thudding of running shoes hitting the ground as we advanced through our miles.
I stayed near the front* and felt comfortable the entire run, never sucking air or struggling to keep up, so by the time we returned, I felt a little…. uncertain. The pace felt a little too slow and the intervals (was starting to understand what those meant) felt a little too frequent. We ran two miles that morning, and at the time, I didn’t feel like I had gotten much of a workout. (Ha!)
After returning our group to its starting place, Debbie and a few others headed back out for one more mile. I wanted very much to go with them, but was bottoming out from not eating enough before this morning's run. I needed fuel and had to skip the third mile. Darn!
Instead, I found Lauren, who was finishing up her track work, and we took a lap around the track, walking and sharing notes. We expressed our uncertainty about our first group training experiences. Were we in the right classes? We talked about her track day being technical and my group run being sociable.
We agreed that the technical side of running wasn’t important to either of us… that we just want to run. We are ‘zen runners.’ And…. we wondered if these were characteristics of our respective programs: Marathonfest for advanced (serious) runners vs. Galloway Training for newbie (casual) runners.
Turns out, once again, wrong!
Galloway Training is definitely NOT for beginning runners only.
Slow and steady provides an excellent workout. (I know this and ignored it!)
Technical running IS very much part of the Galloway training methodology.
Fuel/hydrate properly, even for the short runs, and especially in humid weather.
Appropriate clothing for non-daylight running, please.
Be patient with the process (and yourself).
Ask questions, but be willing to listen to those who've already been there.