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?