Galloway Training Welcomes Runners from the Back of the Pack

By PAM GARDINER, Wellbuddies Coaching

On a snowy night last January, hundreds of Missoulians flocked to the Wilma to hear Jeff Galloway talk about running. On a snowy Sunday morning later that week, 65 Missoulians flocked to the Runner’s Edge to embark on a journey of self-discovery. On a hot Sunday morning 24 weeks later, most of those who began the journey achieved their marathon or half-marathon goals.

Jeff Galloway will be here again in January 2012 with his enduring and powerful message: “You can do it!” He knows that because, over more than 30 years, he has developed a method that makes distance running accessible to the everyday runner, welcoming people of any age and ability into the sport with a gentle and effective formula for success.

The Galloway method centers on a run-walk-run approach to covering distance on foot. Traditional training holds that “continuous running” marks the transition from beginner to runner. Galloway sees a mix of running and walking as the secret to a lifetime of fitness.

A second element of Galloway training is the very slow long run. Jeff’s program builds endurance and speed with different workouts on different days. Short sessions can be run at a faster pace.

Finally, Galloway’s approach is designed to fit a full and busy life. While long runs increase as the goal race approaches, they alternate weekends with shorter runs. During the midweek, trainees run only twice, 30-45 minutes each, throughout the program.

While Galloway’s method can help those who want to clock a faster time while reducing the risk of injury, it is perhaps most welcome at the back of the pack. Those of us who are slower welcome a program that builds endurance gradually. Those of us who are slower appreciate short midweek runs and weekend recovery runs that alternate with long workouts. Those of us who are slower can confidently set an ambitious goal and experience the joy of achieving it.

In January 2011, Missoula joined the national network of Galloway training programs and fired up its first marathon and half-marathon training program using his approach. Run Wild Missoula sponsors the training; John Pitcairn and I lead the effort as volunteers.

Are you interested in running the Missoula marathon or half-marathon next July? If so, start now! The Galloway program begins January 22. The marathon program is designed for those who can already run six miles. The half-marathon program, which begins at two miles and builds more gradually to a 13.1-mile goal, is more appropriate for newer runners.

Jeff Galloway will be in Missoula the week of January 16 to help us kick off the training season, and to inspire you to get off the couch and run-walk-run. Watch local media and the Run Wild Missoula website for details. Contact me ( with any questions about the program.


Like this blog? Chances are you’d like these posts from our running blog: Who Will I Find at the Back of the Pack? or Running Buddies. Or, check out our Missoula running and walking page or Missoula outdoor recreation section.

Click here to see the Run It / Walk It Archive.


Pam Gardiner retired from the US Forest Service in 2008, and trained as a wellness coach (doing business as Wellbuddies Coaching). She also volunteers for Run Wild Missoula, co-directing the Galloway marathon training program and developing programs that encourage slower runners and walkers at the Back of the Pack. Pam started running in her early 50’s, and ran three marathons the year she turned 55. A decade later, she has settled on the half-
marathon as her preferred distance. Pam is grateful for the diverse and inclusive community of runners and walkers in Missoula.