Book Review: Jeff Galloway’s Trail Running
A how-to manual for those new and old to the trail
You might not picture Jeff Galloway, American Olympic 10K runner and author of the well-loved Galloway’s Book on Running, as someone who ever hated running—but, in his latest book, Trail Running: The Complete Guide, Galloway claims just that.
“I was 13, lazy, overweight and in poor physical shape,” he writes in the introduction of Trail Running. It wasn’t until Galloway began attending a new school that required every student to participate in a sport that he even tried to run.
“My first few trails runs did not bring much joy," he writes. But soon, he adds, "The primitive satisfaction of running trails combined with honest friendships and social fun kept me coming back, day after day."
What Galloway seeks to provide in his latest book is the guide to trail running, geared primarily toward beginners. From defining a list of “trail terms” like double-track, point-to-point and technical, to describing how to choose the right running shoe, Galloway offers many practical tools for those learning how to run trails. He includes training plans for trail races anywhere from 5K to 100 miles, as well as nutritional tips, strategies for running hills and speed training advice.
After experimenting with the best way for runners to increase time and distance without also increasing injuries, Galloway devised in 1976 what he dubbed the Galloway Method Training Plan. His plan encouraged runners to incorporate regular walking breaks into their training runs and races to build resilience and fight off fatigue. In Trail Running, he devotes a segment to explaining how his popular Run-Walk-Run Method can be applied to the trails.
The concise, easy-to-read chapters offer motivation for both the clean-shoed road runner who has yet to run one step on trails and the veteran trail runner who no longer remembers the original color of his or her shoes. Although the book focuses on those new to the sport, seasoned runners can also find value. The last chapter, “Troubleshooting,” suggests treatments for common physical injuries and ailments, as well as addressing questions about training when fatigued or whether it’s a good idea to run with a cold.
While much of the book is a how-to manual for running trails, perhaps the most important aspect he addresses is motivation. “I know of no other activity that activates our vitality and expectations than trail running,” writes Galloway. “I feel more alive and energized when running down a trail; body, mind, and spirit working together.”