I recently had the opportunity to visit with running sage and best-selling author Jeff Galloway. As always, our conversation ranged far and wide, but I did take advantage of Jeff’s unparalleled knowledge of running to pose a few questions.
BH: How is your running going these days?
JG: I’ve run about 152 marathons so far. I have not been injured in 31 years. I still run about 40 miles a week. And I run marathons, but just for fun. I take my own advice and take plenty of walking breaks.
BH: What do you make of the barefoot running craze? Is running in minimal shoes or barefoot running more likely to prevent injuries? And do “normal” running shoes cause injuries?
JG: I’ve run for 51 years, and I’ve seen barefoot/minimal shoes come and go as a fad five different times. In the thousands of runners I’ve worked with and in my running store in Atlanta, we are just not seeing problems with regular running shoes. Almost never do shoes cause injuries. On the contrary, I’ve seen people quickly develop foot injuries when they try to run barefoot or in minimal shoes. The foot adapts to whatever you are doing with it.
BH: How do you manage to stay so thin?
JG: Generally, people gain weight each year as they get older. Each of us has what is called a “set point.” The human body is programmed to pad its weight. But running allows us to manage our weight. Personally, I have not gained any weight, even since I’ve lowered my mileage. But I’m probably the exception. I still weigh 138.
BH: Does marathon training make you slower at short distances like 5Ks?
JG: No. You can definitely maintain your speed while marathon training. The key is to incorporate some speed component in your training.
BH: What’s your opinion on stretching?
JG: I am not an advocate of stretching- I believe it can even increase your chance of injury. There is not a single study anywhere showing that stretching is beneficial for distance runners.