Race Report: HMF Middletown Half or Running with Jeff Galloway

Hartford Marathon Foundation’s (HMF) 2nd annual Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Town Half and Legends 4-Mile was held Sunday, April 12th.  The Middletown Half was the 1st of the Triple Half Series.  HMF half marathoners will earn an exclusive HMF Triple Half Challenge jacket and finisher’s medal when they register at once to run the Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Half Marathon (April 12), Mystic Half Marathon (May 31) and Eversource Hartford Half Marathon (October 10) – currently sold out.

A conversation with legends...

A conversation with legends…

In 2014, I had run the Legends 4-miler since I was recovering from surgery.  Last year I was jealous of the Half Marathoners.  I remember my friend, Janice, telling me the course was tough with lots of hills.  Of course, I didn’t remember her warning and since I never look at the course or the elevation until the night before the race…

From plane to bib pick up...

From plane to bib pick up…

I was traveling on business in Florida the week prior to the race.  I touched down and went straight from the airport to bib pick up.  Luckily, I was able to catch the 2pm, “A conversation with the Legends: Kathrine Switzer, Jeff Galloway and Amby Burfoot” at Middletown City Hall.  Amby shared how it’s his 50th anniversary running Boston.  Kathrine shared how “Talent is everywhere – it just needs an opportunity.”  And Jeff explained how kids benefit from finding the right exercise.  What a great opportunity to learn from some of the greats in running.

332After the event, I was off to shuttle kids from events, unpack and fuel for the half.  My overall goal for 2015 was to get faster and work towards qualifying for Boston.  Since my coach was also running Middletown Half, he had asked to run together, “if I wanted,” when he was reviewing my 2015 race schedule and I was over-the-moon excited.  #GiddyAsASchoolGirl.

With Team HMF before the races...

With Team HMF before the races…

Jeff’s kind of big deal.  He’s such a big deal, my own Team HMF teammates were besides themselves about picking him up from the airport.  He’s a #RockStar and it’s apparent when you’re around him.  He takes the time to acknowledge all his legions of fans.  We were stopped on the way to the start line, in the corrals, on course and he couldn’t have been more gracious.  He’s my personal coach, but he’s a lot of people’s coach.  And he loves it.  He really loves running and helping others love running.

Before the race...

Before the race…

Middletown Half was supposed to be a training run for me in preparation for my time-goal race, the Cheshire Half.  I expected to take it easy and finish under 2:30.  Jeff wanted to run 30/15 intervals. However, Jeff likes to chat.  Jeff likes to chat while running.  Jeff likes to chat while running uphill.  Jeff can run fast.  Kimberly doesn’t like to chat while running fast and uphill.  30/15 intervals should be super easy for Kimberly on a non-hilly, no talkie course.  The soon-to-be 70-year old Olympian was kicking Kimberly’s behind.

Run/walking along...

Run/walking along…

The Middletown Half course is hilly and the weather was hotter than expected.  Yes, I had to take more walk breaks than anticipated.  Yes, I was slower than I anticipated.  But I wouldn’t have traded those 13.1 miles with Jeff for anything, not even a PR.  I had the best time listening to his stories, to runners asking him questions on course and to his advice back to them.  Not only did I have a great training run and a deeper appreciation for my coach, but I gained a new running buddy.  We learned a lot about each other and shared a lot with each other.  And we all know, it is not the length of time you’ve known someone, but the miles you share with each other that cement a running buddy friendship.


Crossing the line together…

My Team HMF teammates were waiting for Jeff and I to round the turn into the finish and joined us as we crossed the line together.  And even though I couldn’t appreciate the finish at the time (because I was POOPED), I will remember those 13.1 miles with coach as some of the best of my life.

Here’s some press from the race: 

Below are some tips from Jeff Galloway to help you get faster:


by Olympian Jeff Galloway

Longer Long Runs

Increasing the length of the longest long run has produced the greatest amount of improvement that I’ve seen among my coaching clients. Several surveys have shown more than 13 minutes of time improvement when runners increase their longest long run from 20 miles to 26 miles before a marathon. Comparable time improvements are experienced in 10K runners and half marathoners when they increase their long runs above race distance as noted in my YEAR ROUND PLAN book that covers all the distances. Long runs must be at least 2 min/mi slower than current ability, with liberal walk breaks. The slower the pace, the quicker the recovery. I suggest doing the long runs every 2-3 weeks.

Speed Repetitions—increasing the number

My runners have improved by an average of over 6 minutes in a marathon (3+ minutes in a half marathon) by increasing the number of speed repetitions to 14 x 1 mile for the marathon, and 14 x 800 meter for the half marathon. I recommend that each of these be run 30 sec/mi faster than goal pace. The recovery interval is a 5 min walk between miles and a 3 minute walk between 800’s. These workouts prepare one to maintain or pick up pace at the end of the goal race, instead of slowing down. See GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS & HALF MARATHON books for details (www.RunInjuryFree.com).

Improve Running Form

Most runners I’ve monitored have improved several minutes in a marathon by fine-tuning their running form. As the mechanics become smoother and within one’s limits, there is a significant reduction in aches, pains and injuries. The two best ways to improve form are water running and cadence drills.
• water running uses the same basic motion as when running on land, using a flotation device so that the feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool. When done for at least 15 minutes, once a week, the legs find a more efficient path through the water—eliminating extraneous motion.
• The cadence drill is done for 30 seconds, counting the number of times the foot touches the ground. This drill is detailed in most of my books. I’ve found the key to improving speed on the mechanical side is quicker turnover.

Race in Shorter Events

Dropping down a standard distance or two can improve your mechanics for running faster and your ability to handle a higher level of oxygen debt. On non-long-run weekends, during a half marathon program, try some 5K or 10K races. When training for a marathon, race at the 10K or half marathon distance. At first, the faster pace of the shorter distance may seem awkward. But after several short races, you will adapt—especially if you do some speed training for the shorter/faster event. These performance improvements can translate into faster times in the longer distances. My book 5K/10K details the training and the racing strategies for these events.

Hill Training

The only way I’ve found to build strength for running is to run hill repeats. On a moderate grade hill, start at a jog and pick up the turnover rate of the feet and legs as you go up the hill, shortening your stride. Walk down the hill for recovery. Don’t sprint, and follow the other hill training guidelines in my books and at http://www.RunInjuryFree.com. The strength from hill training will allow you to perform better in speed sessions which will help you improve in your goal race. You’ll also run faster on hilly courses, during your races.

Did you run Harvard Pilgrim Middletown Town Half and Legend’s 4-Miler?  #What’sYourNextRace?

One Comment on “Race Report: HMF Middletown Half or Running with Jeff Galloway

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