Monday, August 11, 2014

Who runs fartleks ...

The word fartlek is just kind of funny ... so I wanted to use it in the post title! 

As the picture says ... it is Monday - so take the week by the horns kick ass and take some names.

I have been talking a lot about biking and swimming on the blog, and running was starting to feel left out ... so today's post is all about running!

To hold myself accountable, I thought I would give you a little update on my Detroit Marathon training.
It is still pretty early in the game, but things are going pretty well. I originally said I wanted to take this marathon training super serious and hit every workout and long run - but I forgot that running is not my career and life happens. For example, the next 3 weekends I am either traveling or have guests - so I have to be strategic about getting my long runs in ... and I am ok with it!  I am trying to plan ahead and squeeze them in during the week (hard to do), or break them up into 2 "longish" runs on the same day. I would rather run 16 miles straight, but this weekend I did 8 miles in the morning on Friday and 8 in the afternoon - it is just what worked best and I am still getting the miles on my legs.

I have done a few speed workouts, but I want to focus more on this aspect. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can do some hill workouts, intervals and fartleks. I always feel so accomplished after a workout and I know they can REALLY help - I just need to do it.

I use the words interval and fartlek on the blog, and I wanted to make sure you knew what they meant and share an example workout for each term!

Interval Workout

As defined by Runner's World - Interval training, also known as interval workouts or interval runs, are short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly less recovery time. An interval workout is more structured than a fartlek and in an interval workout - you want to push above your red line (aka - really push yourself), because you will get a recovery. 

An interval workout can be on a track or can be on the roads, but you will usually be running a marked, specific distance. 

I am going to share a traditional track, interval workout that is hard, but awesome! I got this idea from my awesome running group - PR Fitness.
First ----- Make sure you properly warm up - I usually run 2 miles to get sweaty and get the blood pumping!

Another difference between an interval workout and a fartlek run is that in an interval workout, you normally stop after the warm up run and do a little stretching before you jump into the workout. 

The workout is a series of 800 meter repeats - I would recommend either 4 or 6 repeats depending on your fitness level and desire to really push yourself.

Instead of just the traditional 800 meter repeats with equal rest ... there is a twist =)
The recovery (either jogging or static) between each 800 meter repeat starts at 1 minute and 20 seconds, and then decreases by 10 seconds every repeat. The idea is to hold the pace from you first 800 meters, even though you are getting less rest time. 

Just like you need to hold the pace in a race, even when you are tired! 

After the 800 meter repeats, make sure you cool down - I usually run 1 to 2 miles. The warm up and cool down help you reach you mileage goals. 

Fartlek Workout

As defined by Runner's World - Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play," and that is exactly what it’s all about. Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout. A fartlek helps you work on stamina and helps you work on pacing and knowing your different paces. 

Fartleks are very easy to incorporate on normal road runs. If you are heading out on a 6 mile run, you can use the first 2 miles as a warm up and run them at your normal "everyday" pace. Then, you can play with speed and pick up the pace for a certain time period (or even pick a tree to run hard to) and then bring the pace back to a jog to recovery. During a fartlek, you want to be running hard, but you do not want to be killing yourself. It is about stamina. 
Here is a simple pyramid fartlek run:
  1. Pick a 5 or 6 mile running route, and run the first 2 miles as a warm up pace.
  2. Run hard for 2 minute and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes (slower than "everyday" pace)
  3. Run hard for 3 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  4. Run hard for 4 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  5. Run hard for 4 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  6. Run hard for 3 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes 
  7. Run hard for 2 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
This workout is stated easier by calling it a: 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, with 2 minute recovery. Therefore, you will be running hard for 18 minutes.

These times can all be alternated and you can make it less structured too by just running hard and not always timing every detail. The awesome thing about fartleks are their flexibility and how easy they are to incorporate into your weekly runs!

I hope this information is helpful! When I start talking about running ... I can get long winded!

I want to close by saying that incorporating a little speed work in your runs is good and appropriate for everyone. Sometimes I find myself thinking that since I am not an "elite" runner, doing workouts is silly -- but that is not true! Interval runs or fartleks can be good for everyone - it gives you variety and can help you improve too.

Are you training for anything - and how is your training going?
If you are not training for anything, how was your weekend??

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I am not a registered dietitian (yet). My blog is simply a snapshot of my everyday life. The views I express are mine alone, based on my own experiences, and should not be taken as medical advice. Though I am a certified fitness instructor, the workouts I post may not be right for you. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.