fartleks

It would have been incredibly easy to bail on Wednesday’s speed work. We didn’t get any actual snow or ice in our neck of the woods, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t experiencing temperatures in the 30s with gray, gloomy skies and raw, bitter wind.

Winter. It’s not my favorite.

Unfortunately, no one was ever productive sitting bundled on the couch in yoga pants, so I pulled on my thickest socks, found a wicking sweatshirt and my gloves, and headed out into the dreary, cold day.

I regretted my decision almost immediately. There was just nothing inviting about being outside.

And there is certainly nothing inviting about fartleks.

As most of you probably know, the word “fartlek” means “speed play” in Swedish. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing playful about it. And you don’t even want to know what Mr PugRunner had to say. It had something to do with Bentley and the curliest part of his body.

The point is, fartleks are intervals of speed to be used in conjunction with regular training in order to improve one’s pace and stamina.

After some reading, I decided to go with a system where I would warm up, then do 6:00 of “half marathon” pace, 3:00 recovery, 5:00 of slightly faster pace, 2:30 of recovery, 4:00 of faster pace, 2:00 recovery and so on, down to 1:00 of super sonic speed (where the recovery period is half the distance of the speed interval).

It was hard. Really hard. I’m used to doing my nice pace for two minutes, walking for one minute and going back at it, so six minutes of faster-than-usual running took its toll. Especially in the cold wind. Ugh.

Here’s the rundown:

  • 6:00 at 10 mm (.6 miles)
  • 3:00 recovery at 18:18 mm (.17 miles)
  • 5:00 at 9:28 mm (.53 miles)
  • 2:30 recovery at 19:18 mm (.13 miles)
  • 4:00 at 9:07 mm (.44 miles)
  • 2:00 recovery at 20:06 mm (.1 miles)
  • 3:00 at 9:03 mm (.33 miles)
  • 1:30 at 21:29 mm (.07 miles)
  • 2:00 at 9:04 mm (.22 miles)
  • 1:00 recovery at 20:16 mm (.05 miles)
  • 1:00 at 7:45 mm (.13 miles)

Yeah, I was impressed by that last number, too. Even more impressed that there are people who actually run that pace for 150 minutes instead of just one. Kudos to them. Because it just made me feel like I was going to toss my cookies.

I would like to point out that there was some “cheating” involved on the recoveries. It was my first time, and I was trying to work out my timer system (just use the Garmin or supplement with phone timer), music (what song is going to make me what to toss my cookies the least?), and lacing issues (new shoes means that it’s going to take me a few weeks to perfect the lacing over my right arch).

I felt very badass after the fact, especially because the day was so nasty out. No aches, no pains, nothing but a lovely, hacking “runner’s cough” from the cold, damp weather. (So attractive).

So this is going to be a weekly thing. I hope that, in time, I will grow to tolerate love it. And that the fruits of my labor will start showing up in my overall training.

We shall see.

Fartleks: love ‘em or dread ‘em?

What’s your least favorite part of training?

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Comments

  1. I used to dread speed work. Now I appreciate the break from monotony that sprint intervals offer. I would even say, right now at least, it’s my favorite workout. *Wait, what?* (Though I’m using a treadmill for the first winter season in ages, and intervals are a lot easier to track on a machine). And you’re right; you do feel pretty bad ass after a good speed workout!
    Larissa recently posted…Conquer treadmill run boredomMy Profile

  2. I love speed work. In fact, it’s the only way to get me to use a treadmill most of the time (not that I’ve been on a treadmill in ages). But I do love it. I am not fast. I will never be fast. But there is something awesome about running all-out (or close to it) for short bursts of time. I think some of my most memorable runs were ones where my coach had me doing 1/4 mile repeats. Sure-fire way to feel like a badass at the end of a run. =)
    Diana recently posted…Just…. Dance?My Profile

  3. Speed work is my least favorite…. and I’ve been really bad about doing it the last few weeks. I KIND of did some today on the TM during my circuit. It was too rainy and cold to run my regular 4 miles outside, so I did 2 miles, stopped and did some abs and pushups, then did 2 more miles and did the same abs and pushups again. I just can’t handle the TM.
    Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom recently posted…It’s Official!My Profile

  4. I don’t care for trackwork/speedwork. Omg so boring, I’d rather hill repeats.
    I know that hill repeats are speedwork, but I much prefer to do them than going around and around on a track.

    You did well. there are multiply ways to tie your shoes, I’m sure you’ll find the right way.
    Matilda recently posted…Whole30 Pantry Clean out & Why your crisper is not working for youMy Profile

    • I like hill repeats. It’s just a bit of a drive to get to them, so I like to stick with stuff that’s closer to home.

      My right arch is very high and for whatever reason, it takes forever to get just the right amount of looseness over it. So annoying with new shoes because everything has to be in precise alignment to feel comfortable.
      runswithpugs recently posted…fartleksMy Profile

  5. I’m a big fan of the speed work. I do Fartleks every once in a while but I really love the hill repeats!
    Kyle recently posted…2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  6. Kudos to you for getting out there!

    The great thing about speedwork to me isn’t so much the getting faster (I mean I guess it is :)) but more that the variability of it distracts me and keeps me from getting bored, even when I do NOT feel like running!
    Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.wordpress.com recently posted…Five Things FridayMy Profile

  7. Farkleks are tough! Good workout. I hate cold and I hate speed work…the combo of the two is deadly! You’re tough!
    jan recently posted…Why I Love Google Chrome & Favorite Chrome ExtensionsMy Profile

  8. I have yet to try speedwork, but I need to. Maybe once I’m injury-free and after my weekends of 4 races in 4 weekends are over.
    Andrea recently posted…Race #43–Space Coast Half MarathonMy Profile

    • I’m not going to say I like it, because I don’t. But after my second outing, I can say that I feel there’s a benefit. Not entirely sure what that is yet, but I feel better for doing it.

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