Yes I realise that it's been nearly two years since I last blogged for my website. Any social media guru will tell you that that certainly isn't the way to build followers. I'm really okay with that. If anyone happens upon my meanderings, I hope they find them useful, thought provoking or even inspiring. Sometimes, the blogs are just a way for me to empty my brain and stop the incessant chatter.
The Lap of Anglia 2018 was the last long distance multi day cycling event that I trained seriously for. Since then, 2019 saw one 100 mile overnight Summer Solstice ride but that's been it. This recent winter has seen me shy away from riding my bike due to high winds and weekends of endless rain. However, in my desperation to at least do something, 2020 saw me embark on a new form of exercise ... Jeffing!
What the eff is Jeffing? I hear you ask. Well, let me explain ... named after Olympic 10,000m runner Jeff Galloway, Jeffing is a Run-Walk-Run method that he designed so that more people could take part in running events and enjoy them. You don't just start walking when you're too tired to run anymore, you set an interval timer to strictly adjust your pace from running to walking. So, for example ... run 30secs then walk 30secs ...from the VERY START of the race. The theory being that it is less stressful on the body and allows for a quicker recovery.
I first heard of Jeffing from my local village run leader who was planning on completing the London Marathon using this method ... this was before the cancellation due to coronavirus. Being an advocate of exercising for happiness, I decided to give it a go as my cycle training was going nowhere fast due to my reluctance to be anything but a fair weather rider. My running history consisted of training on and off for three half marathons and a couple of 10Ks over the years prior to menopausal joint pain (hip and knee) and a bunion forced me to focus solely on cycling from around 2013/2014. I used to love running as there is far less faffage involved than cycling and it can be done quickly, fitting into an early morning exercise routine. I was somewhat sceptical about it being less stressful on my joints than continuous jogging which I had tried but always ended up in pain.
So, in January 2020 when everyone set off on their new fitness regimens, I started my Jeffing adventure very cautiously. I found an interval training app that I set for 30secs hard (the running part) and 30secs easy (the walking part). It gave me three loud beeps at the transitions which allowed me to perfect the "glide" from running to walking and vice-versa. Setting out up the road before sunrise, I would walk for about 5 mins and then set my timer. Off I went ... I couldn't remember how to run! How fast did I used to go? How can I change my style so my knees don't hurt ..BEEP BEEP BEEP ... before I'd even had time to think this through I was walking. BEEP BEEP BEEP time to run again ... soft knees Stephanie relax, focus on small strides, push the ground away behind you ...BEEP BEEP BEEP ...phew time to walk again....BEEP BEEP BEEP ... glide into that run and remember to breathe girl, don't just pant, blimey I don't remember it being this hard, maybe I'm going too fast...BEEP BEEP BEEP...glide into the walk, don't pull up abruptly ...BEEP BEEP BEEP .... this thing's a Jeffin slave driver! ...BEEP BEEP BEEP oh good there's the tree I can turn back now. BEEP BEEP BEEP .. running again oh it's slightly downhill no wonder it was hard going the other way, so just run faster then ...NO!... BEEP BEEP BEEP ...walking again ..how am I supposed to walk ..do I wiggle like the race walkers? On it went ... for 10 minutes. Seemed like ages, but it was just 10 measly minutes and I'd not even managed a mile. And so it went on. Usually 4 times a week I'd go out and I stuck to it. Amazingly and somewhat miraculously in my eyes, on most occasions I had almost zero joint pain. Some days I got the odd niggle but nothing that a day off didn't sort and none of it impacted on my ability to teach my aerobic routines to my classes.
Three months down the line and I'm only just completing over 1.5 miles in around 15 minutes (which isn't actually a bad pace). Unusually for me, I have listened to my body and have increased distances so gradually I've hardly noticed. I've changed my intervals now to 45 secs run and 30 secs walk. But, I can tell you, when the 45 secs run is up, I'm relieved to walk. I am wondering whether I will ever be able to run continuously again or whether Jeffing will be my modus operandi going forward. I don't know. All I can say is that Jeffing is an enjoyable thing to do and if I can keep doing it through my later years, I will know that I'll always have it in me to run for that bus!
Yours in exercise4happiness
PS Here's the link if any of you would like some further reading on Jeff's method.
I am an exercise4happiness specialist. Forget the bikini body or the 6 pack, exercising to feel good is where it's at! Join me in my adventures in happiness, on the bike, in the studio, or in the classroom and I will infect you with my enthusiasm to get out there and be active too! You will feel good, I promise you.