How ‘Jeffing’ helped me love running again

Ok so the title of this may may be slightly misleading since I don’t think I have or ever will, love running. And if you checked my Strava, the last time I actually ran anywhere was 7th August – but! That’s because I’ve been suffering a little from a knee/hip/getting old situation which has meant I’ve found my exercise home on the crosstrainer more recently and running has taken a bit of a back seat. That said I fully aim to get back to it in the new year which I’m excited abut since earlier this year I started ‘jeffing’ and that made it all the more enjoyable.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with running. I love being finished  (runners high is a real thing!) and I loved, years ago, when I could run a 10K twice a week. Problem is, I lose my fitness so quickly and I want to be that good again I just don’t want to get that good again.

So, what is jeffing I hear you cry if not a euphemism for some bad language? Well, the idea is that you run in intervals of your choice at varying speeds to break up the run. So for example you may choose time as your metric; so would run for a bit, then walk for a bit. Or you distance could be your marker so you run a mile then walk for a bit. I think the idea is it allows you to pace yourself a bit better. Some people even use their heart rate so you run until you hit your max heart rate (220 bpm minus your age – science fans) then walk until it goes down about 120bmp then rinse and repeat. Keen runner and coach Jeff Galloway is the man behind the theory and he says that it’s usually pointless using this method on anything under 10K, I however, say who died and put Jeff in charge?

5K is normally my distance of choice and must confess I have previously been one of those people who felt like they’d failed if they had to walk at any point of a run. But earlier on in the year I really needed something to help me get back into running that didn’t feel too daunting so I thought I’d give jeffing a go just to get me out the front door. I tend to find that running for 4 minutes then walking for 1 works well for me, The running element is roughly the length of a song and it means you are always sticking to 5 minute intervals.

I’ve never been someone who was that bothered about my time, I mean I always did and still do wish I could one day run a sub hour 10K but, as someone pointed out to me recently, I have height dysmorphia and I’m not sure my little legs will ever allow that to happen. But surprisingly, I’ve found that jeffing hasn’t really done much to my timings. I think I tend to run faster in the intervals I am running in, and it evens out. Either that or I run so slowly it’s not actually that much faster than walking pace anyway! I’ve also found that I can go from longer (whey hey) and that the running portions don’t seen so difficult because you know you get a walk coming up shortly.

So come the new year and I want to get back into running again I’m absolutely start with the jeffing method. One thing it’s certainly taught me, is how long 4 minutes can last, and how quickly 1 minute can fly over!

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