What Is Jeffing?
The term “Jeffing” refers to the running technique founded by Olympian Jeff Galloway. The approach uses intervals of running and walking to help beginners, and more experienced runners, reach their running goals.
An example of the Jeffing method would be a two-minute run interval followed by 30 seconds of walking before another two-minute run interval. This can also be utilized for distances, so run 0.25 mile, walk 0.10 mile and then run 0.25 mile again.
Jeffing can be used with any interval ranges, for example, beginners may start out with 60 seconds of walking and 30 seconds of running. More experienced runners may use the Jeffing approach to help them through longer distance events using longer running intervals. I have used this approach in some 10k and half marathon events where I would run for a mile or two, then recover for 2-3 minutes before running another interval.
Benefits Of Jeffing:
Ease Into Running
Jeffing makes it easier for people who haven’t ran before or who haven’t ran for a while to ease into running. Breaking a run into smaller chunks also makes the first few runs seem less daunting as you know that you can have a walk break.
Helps Build Fitness
Using the Jeffing method is a great way to build fitness, and is similar to the Couch 2 5k program. It can be used regardless of how out of shape someone is. The running and walking intervals can be altered for any level. It is also easy to adapt when fitness is starting to increase. The running timer per interval can be increased, or the walking time can be decreased each week.
Less Strain On The Body
It puts less strain on the muscles and heart than non-stop running as there are active recovery periods included. These walking periods help to get the heart rate back down and reduce the amount of pounding on the body. This also reduces fatigue and reduces the risk of injury. The easier the training runs are, the more time you are able to run rather than recover!
Cover Further Distances
Jeffing makes it easier to cover further distances. You may not be able to run 3 miles non-stop, however Jeffing allows for the distance to be broken down. Breaking running down into smaller chunks makes distances more manageable.
Sometimes running turns into a more mental battle. Sometimes the mind wants to stop before your legs or body are actually tired. Taking a recovery interval can help reset your frame of mind. When the running gets tough, it can seem easier if you know that you are due a recovery period soon.
Using this method helps to prevent burnout later on in the race so that you can keep a consistent pace in the second half of an event. You will end up finishing the event feeling fresher than if you attempted to complete it non-stop running. This can also help with an attempt to run negative splits for the second half of a race. A negative split second half means that the second half would be ran at faster mile splits than the first half. Usually runners start out fast and then end up tiring and slowing down the second half of longer events.
Get A Personal Best
When utilized properly, Jeffing can also improve your race times. For example, it may not be possible to hold a steady 11 minute per mile pace for the entire distance. This is where Jeffing comes in. The idea is that you run your intervals at slightly faster than your desired finishing time race pace, but take recovery intervals in-between. This allows you to get your breath back and can be easier than maintaining a hard pace all of the way, especially for longer events.
Jeffing can be used as a method to ease beginners into running. It can be deemed a “beginners technique”, however that is not the case. Jeffing is also a useful strategy for those looking to improve their distances or race times, especially if they have hit a plateau.
There are a number of benefits to using this approach, from reduced risk of injury to improved race times. If you are struggling to increase your running distance or set a personal best, why not give Jeffing a try and let us know how you got on in the comments below!
For a perfect example of using Jeffing to run a marathon, visit RunMummyRun as Melissa and Georgina document their experiences of running a marathon using this approach.