Helping A Friend Get Through A Tough Marathon By Jeff Galloway

Late last month Barb and I ran the beautiful Big Sur Marathon. As part of the pre-race announcements, I invited anyone to join us. Normally we use a 15/15 (run 15 sec and walk 15 sec) during marathons but our last long run had been on a very hot day and we had only covered 20 miles. By past experience I have found that by adjusting to (run 15/walk 20) we are able to finish 26.2, feeling about the way we do when using 15/15 after a longest run of 26+ miles.

We began with about a dozen and were joined by several dozen others at various stages of the race (usually as we were passing them). Most realized that it might be possible to go with us because we were only running a quarter of a minute—and this was usually true.

Jeff Galloway

My good friend Michael, was having some difficulty as we started up the 2.25 mile hill at 10 miles, so I walked more with him and told Barb to go on with those in our group that wanted to continue. Dropping down to 10/30 allowed Michael to run with strength to the top.

But Big Sur has a hard and fast 6 hour limit so we went back to 15/20. There were several uphills when Michael was starting to cramp and we walked until this went away. Prevention worked. 

But during the last 2 long hills the cramp alarms were going off repeatedly. I told the others in our group to leave us behind when desired—I was staying with Michael. Going up the last hill, we were getting a bit behind the average pace needed but the cramping was under control only by walking.

Running down the hill I showed Michael some “zig zag” running to use different muscles. There was half a mile of flat terrain at the end and we were behind a bit. I told Michael to run and walk at his own pace. By using approximately 15/15 we picked up the pace and got across the finish to win our medals. 

Adjust the run walk run before the cramps occur and you are in control. It was wonderful to help a friend!