Thursday, April 25, 2013

Galloway's Dumbo Plan: A Quick Analysis

The long awaited official Dumbo Double Dare training plan by runDisney's Jeff Galloway has finally been released. I expected to see a lot of walking in his plan, but I was surprised by the amount (or lack there of) of miles. I felt a little analysis was in order.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way discrediting or inferring that Jeff Galloway's Dumbo training plan is incorrect or wrong. These are merely my thoughts and opinions.*

I'll just jump right into the training schedule part. (If you're interested in my thoughts on the introduction part, continue reading below.)

Galloway sticks to a walk/run method which gets you across the finish line with very little risk of injury. For our analysis, let's say that you follow a run/walk pace of 10 mins/mile (run 4 minutes and walk 1).  The Tuesday/Thursday maintenance runs are almost all 30 minutes, with an increase to 30-45 mins seen for 3 weeks (Thursdays on weeks 13, 15, and 17). That would give you ~3 mile runs, which is a good distance, but not too strenuous. 

My analysis really has to do with the long run mileage.

 Weeks 1-6: The long run starts at 3 miles, jumping up and down until Week 6's 6.5 mile run. There is almost two weeks of running ~3 miles and then a big jump to long run of 6.5 miles. Some may prefer a more gradual increase from the previous week. 

Weeks 7-12: This is when the back to back runs start coming into play. The back to back runs are scheduled every other week. The shorter 10k prep run increases 1 mile, while the half marathon prep run increases 1.5 miles. Sounds good, until you look at the long runs on the in between weeks- only 3-4 miles. You're doubling, almost tripling, the previous week's long run, not to mention it's the second part of the back to back run. 

 Weeks 13-18: The mileage keeps increasing at the same pace (1 mile added to the 10k run, 1.5 miles added to the half run). By Week 16, at 2 weeks before the race, you will have gone your furthest distance at 5 miles on Saturday and 14 miles on Sunday. Personally, I would go 6 miles on Saturday and only 13.1 on Sunday. At the end of a long run, you're tired and your form isn't as good, opening up the possibility of injury. Why risk it?

Week 19: Following up your race with some light running is always a good idea. 

For some comparison, here is my Dumbo plan. 
I actually took a lot of the back to back run scheduling from Galloway's Goofy training (his is every 3 weeks, mine is 4). His Goofy training is a lot longer (due to running a half and then a full the next day), but I feel the increase in mileage is more gradual. I kept my long runs pretty long, too. I need to keep the mileage up or it's too hard for me to increase it again. I also run 4 days/week, instead of Galloway's 3. 

Here's the introduction to the official training plan, along with my thoughts on it. 
He mentions that this is for experienced runners (more than 6 months), but I would argue that a non-runner would be able to follow this as well.

 He goes into more depth about the walk/run method.

 Galloway provides a break down of the walk/run for difference pace times. For a 9min/mile pace (giving you a sub-2hr half marathon finish), you would run 4 minutes and walk 1.  He also touches on cross training and while I agree that it may not directly affect your running, it can help improve endurance.  

 This is where he explains the "Magic Mile". Essentially the magic mile gives you an idea of the pace to expect on race day. It's an interesting idea and would be worth checking out.

Have you used a Galloway plan? How do you like the walk/run method? What do you think about Galloway's Dumbo plan? 


  1. Great post!

    I haven't tried the run/walk method yet. Honestly, I think I would get annoyed trying to keep track of when I need to run and walk. I feel it would keep me from getting in my zone :)

  2. That's how I feel, too. If I've been running for a while and take a break, it's a lot harder for me to start running again.
    I have an app on my phone that can be set for intervals, so that could help with timing.

  3. When I first started running I did a lot of walk/running intervals and read one of Galloway's books. It just didn't work for me. I feel like not only is it frustrating to keep track of starting/stopping, it almost HURTS when I keep stopping. I prefer to run the whole time now, and I feel different as well... I have not tried his plans, but agree with some of the things you noticed. I suspect he has good reasoning behind these things, just not sure what they are b/c I'm not an expert! Not even remotely! LOL

  4. You're not alone- it hurts to continuously stop as well! I definitely trust that Galloway has a good plan, but I feel like it's geared towards people that strictly stick to his walk/run method. I wonder how the training plan will go for people who run the entire time.