Life Enrichment
My Best Self: Jeff Galloway

My Best Self: Jeff Galloway

Atlanta running and fitness icon

As a U.S Olympian (1972), best-selling author, training consultant and founder of Phidippides, the nation’s first store devoted exclusively to running, Jeff Galloway is used to wearing many hats. An avid runner, he runs 6 days a week, 7 or 8 marathons a year and is a director for the Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer, as well as an official training consultant for the Walt Disney Endurance Series. He has also developed his own Galloway Marathon Program—a low-mileage program that will help those who want to run a marathon get ready for the task. He is a Peachtree Road Race and Atlanta Marathon winner and conducts corporate fitness clinics for NASA, The White House Athletic Club, Homeland Security, West Point and more. Through several unique training elements, his method reduces injury risk, aches and pains.

What’s your favorite part of your career?
Representing my country in the Olympic Games and winning the first Peachtree Road Race changed my life. But my favorite pastime is helping people improve the quality of their lives though fitness.  Every day I hear from dozens of folks who get one of my books and good shoes at Phidippides, get off the couch, train for the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk or join one of our Galloway training programs.

Your least favorite?
Having to make the tough CEO choices when the budget needs to be cut.

How did you come to this point in your career?
As an overweight 13-year-old kid, I started running. These first runs gave me such a positive attitude boost that I wanted others to enjoy the benefits as well. By my 27th year of running, I had a vision of my life’s work: I wanted to teach people how to enjoy the benefits of fitness as a lifestyle. As I waited on customers at my Phidippides Running Store, I could explain how training doesn’t have to hurt, how your attitude can be improved after every run and how attitude changes the way you look at life.

What do you see as the keys to being your “best self”?
Getting control over one’s attitude, helping others, trying to make each project better. My father, Elliott, who founded the Galloway School, said it best: “Behave yourself and try.”

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That there are some people that cannot be motivated to exercise.  Each person has the motivational ability, and each has control over his or her attitude. I can only suggest the steps they need to take.

What has been your greatest achievement?
Having directly helped over a million people to improve the quality of their lives through my programs.

What’s your No. 1 fitness and health secret?
Move! Even taking a few steps down the hall or sidewalk can help you feel better. By adding more steps to the day, vitality increases, attitude improves and we find more control over our life and mindset.

What are the keys to your health regimen?
I get out and run or walk each day.  If exercise were a medication, it would be the No. 1 prescription. Even when I don’t feel good at the beginning of a run, my head is always clear afterward, and I have more energy.

What’s your favorite getaway destination/activity?
The best weeks of my year are spent conducting fitness retreats at Blue Mountain Beach (on the Florida panhandle) and at Lake Tahoe. These times are filled with great people and restorative forest trails and are a great personal reinforcement.

What is your cause of choice and why?
My two causes are fighting obesity and fighting breast cancer. Obesity is a battle we can fight and win through regular exercise programs. Companies can help employees by encouraging teamwork, fitness projects, such as the 8-week buildup to the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk. My dear mom died of cancer not due to any lifestyle behaviors.  I support the efforts of Donna Deegan and The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, which has raised millions for the breast cancer cause. This race gives almost every cent of the entry fee to Mayo Clinic breast cancer research and care.