Book Review: Galloway’s 5K/10K Running

Author: Jeff Galloway
Publisher: Meyer & Meyer Sport
Book Publication: 2007

Running seems like a fairly straightforward activity, but in order to get the most out of pre-race training, there is a great deal of information to process before reaching the starting line of a 5K or 10K race.

I plan to run my first 5K race this spring, and have thus been in search of the perfect training guide. I want to know how often I should run, for how long, and what speed drills will be beneficial to optimizing my race time. Galloway’s 5K/10K Running provides answers to these questions, offering extremely detailed training programs that vary depending on your target finish time.

These programs go day-by-day, and describe the length and intensity of the run for each training session. The page that contains your goal-specific chart is the most important page of this book, and if you’ve already received any run coaching, this could very well be one of the only pages you’ll really need.

That’s not to say, however, that the book doesn’t contain other important information. There’s a detailed description of Jeff Galloway’s ‘run-walk-run’ method, which stresses the importance of taking walk breaks intermittently throughout runs in order to increase endurance. This comes as welcome news to most runners, who feel that walking suggests a sign of weakness, whereas, in reality, it provides a slight rest for leg muscles that work much less efficiently when fatigued.

The use of the ‘Magic Mile’ to gauge expected race speed is also useful, particularly for those who are newer to speed training. The goal is to run, preferably on a measured track, one mile at your comfortable race speed. This will provide an estimate of what a race mile will look like. You can test your Magic Mile speed throughout the weeks of pre-race training to see how you’re improving.

Another valuable section of the book describes the procedures for race day, explaining what you should eat and drink before the race, where you should take your walk breaks during the race, and much more. The actual race day process can seem daunting to those who have yet to experience it, so this information can serve as a sort of security blanket for those with a fear of the unknown.

I was somewhat disappointed in the suggested speed training drills, hoping for a greater variety of sprint drills with diagrams or more detailed instructions. I have, however, been subjected to a plethora of sprint drills throughout competitive sport training, so perhaps I’m asking for more than a book like this should actually provide.

Much of the other advice seems straightforward and slightly repetitive, but could be beneficial to those who have never done any running training before (which would seem strange, considering that they have decided to take on the monumental goal of running an organized race). All the same, you probably can’t fault Galloway for wanting to be thorough and to offer advice for the entire runner spectrum.

Thus, Galloway’s 5K/10K Running is a useful tool for beginners, but is probably not overly helpful for anyone who has already finished a 5K or 10K race, unless they need a detailed training schedule for their next target time.

While I don’t feel that this running guide is specifically targeted toward someone with my running experience, it does provide the essential training information that I’m looking for, and it was worthwhile to read and reinforce the rest. Although I’m not sure that I’ll follow Galloway’s advice to the letter – he advises against target times in your first race, but I’ve played far too many competitive sports to simply aim to finish. I guess we’ll see just how effective the training plan was when I reach the finish line in May!

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