I’ve definitely been struggling a little bit this summer with running. Running in the heat has been a big adjustment for me and as my mileage increases there are times when I don’t feel like running.
Yesterday, I wasn’t looking forward to running an easy paced 9 mile run. So I changed it to a fartlek run.
According to competitor.com . . .
“A fartlek workout is a base run that mixes in intervals of varying duration or distance. It’s a good way to begin the process of developing efficiency and fatigue resistance at faster speeds in the early phases of the training cycle, or to get a moderate dose of fast running later in the training cycle in addition to the larger doses provided by tempo/threshold and interval workouts. They can also serve as a less-structured alternative to a traditional interval session such as a track workout.”
I ran a 30 minute warm up, then 10 x 1 minute hard/1 minute easy and then a 30 minute cool down. It was so much fun. For the whole 20 minutes of alternating easy and hard I was really focused. Then after on the cool down I was so happy because of how much fun I had.
I used the interval setting on my garmin. It lets you run a warm up and cool down for whatever amount of time you choose. For the intervals, you pre-set how long and how many and then the garmin will beep at the end of each interval. Plus, the screen displays what interval you’re running out of how many (ex: 8/10). This makes it so much easier because its easy after a few to forget which one you are on.
It was amazing how just changing the pace of my run made it exciting! The first few intervals I ran in the low 8′s, but my last 5 were all under 7:25. So I managed to speed up as the intervals went on.
This specific run I did was great for a few reasons:
- Pacing: I struggle with pacing, in both races and training runs. My “hard efforts” were all over the place, but they got faster as I kept going and my final 1 minute was the fastest. I’m looking forward to doing this run again and seeing if I can keep my pacing a little more consistent.
- Speed: if you want to get faster you have to run faster.
- Changing Gears: I think changing gears is tough. I would almost just rather running hard for 20 minutes than changing my pace every minute. But in a race, you aren’t going to always run at a consistent pace. You might have to adjust your pace for hills, slowing down through water stops and then speeding back up, etc. Plus trying to run hard on the last effort is similar to trying to run hard at the end of a race, when you’re tired.
- Easier Recovery: For the majority of my run I was running at an easier pace, so my legs felt fine this morning when I woke up.
- Mentally Engaged: When running 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy, there isn’t a lot of time to think about anything else. I was focused on my form and reminding myself to exchange my legs quickly, etc. I wasn’t daydreaming about what to make for dinner. I love runs where I get lost in my thoughts, but it also nice to have runs where I am really focused on running.
One thing I love about running is that when you are in a running rut, running can make it better! I think that’s so cool.
Do you do fartlek runs? Like them?