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Runners: Meet Jeff Galloway in Columbus on Wednesday

Jeff Galloway wants to prove your P.E. teacher wrong.

You know, the teacher who defined running as extreme distance, extreme exertion and extreme discomfort.

Maybe the same teacher who made you vow to never run again.

"Running is free form. You choose whether you want to run until you puke or not," Galloway said in a phone interview Monday. And for anyone who disagrees, Galloway's response is simple: "Could you please show me the rule book?"

Galloway, a world-class athlete and Olympian, will be at Big Dog Running Company in Columbus Wednesday to kick off a local marathon and half-marathon training program that centers on his popular Run-Walk-Run technique. Runners using Galloway's method incorporate walk breaks into their longer runs for physical and mental benefits.

Walk breaks during a run? You're probably not the only one surprised by the concept.

"It runs counter to what we're hard-wired to do," Galloway said. "The most common thing that is learned is that you must run constantly (during a long run)."

But that approach can lead to physical strain, as well as the mental resistance that comes with viewing a race as a daunting 13 or 26 miles. With Run-Walk-Run, however, a race often seems more manageable -- since you're thinking in terms of your next walk break.

Don't equate walk breaks with an unimpressive finish time, either. Galloway said many people who use the program see an improvement in their finish time.

When you use the Run-Walk-Run method correctly, you aren't plagued by the extreme fatigue that hits many runners toward the end of a race, according to Galloway. "It saves your resources," he explained.

He's trained hundreds of thousands of runners, and still gets a rush out of reading emails from people who have used the Run-Walk-Run method.

"It simply changes people's lives. There are no bad stories. This is all good stuff," Galloway said.

He'll be at Big Dog Running Company, 1104 Broadway, at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. The local Galloway marathon training group will begin May 19 and the half-marathon training group will begin July 28.

This is in preparation for the local Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon, scheduled for Nov. 10. Learn more about the training at Wednesday's event.

Sonya Sorich can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516. Visit ledger-enquirer.com/sonya to read her columns.

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