Monday, February 7, 2011

Fartlek Monday? Questions...

So I've been hearing/reading a lot about doing Fartleks as part of a training schedule.  And, while I'm not currently training for anything in particular, I've been wanting to try to do some to see how they felt.  I'm still easing myself into this "serious" running business...Well, today's run was awesome!!  After last Thursday's run feeling kind of 'blah' and generally crappy to get through, I was really happy with the way I felt today and with what I was able to accomplish.  Today's (treadmill) run looked like this:

15 min. at 9:13 pace
3 x 2 min. fartleks at 8:30 pace with 2 min. between each at 9:13 pace
(at this point, I realized I could definitely step it up a bit...hadn't been sure since I was planning on a longer than normal 60 min. run, but I could tell I had more to give)
5 min. at 9:00 pace
3 x 1 min. fartleks at 8:00 pace with 1 min. between each at 9:00 pace
15 min. at 9:00 pace
3 x 1 min. fartleks at 8:00 pace with 1 min. between each at 9:00 pace
5 min. at 9:13 pace

6.74 miles
60 minutes

As I was doing this run, I was thinking "I wonder if I'm doing this right??"  While I was very happy with my distance, my endurance, being able to step up my speed, and feeling really good through all of it, I can't help but wonder if what I did was actually a fartlek workout or just some interval training?  So, for all of you other runners out there who are reading this...

Should a fartlek workout be a certain distance or time?

Should the fartleks be 1 minute long? 2 minutes? more?

Should the speed of your fartleks push you to your limit or just be quicker than your base pace?  How hard should they be?

I'd love to hear any feedback on these questions!

Like I said, I'm not currently training for anything right now, but I've decided that I want to do a half this year.  (Woohoo!)  Jeremy and I did the Va. Beach Rock-n-Roll Half in 2000, before kids and before I had really committed myself to running.  We did some training, but not nearly enough.  I don't think I'd run any more than 7 consecutive miles before race day. was ugly.  I did a lot of walking, and somehow made it through the day without puking (probably because I did the walking).  At the time, I considered it an accomplishment just to have crossed the finish line.  And, in a way, it was.  But, I shudder to think of doing another half that way.  Completely unprepared.  I didn't think of training as a real part of the process back then.  I can see now that the training is the real work, and the race is the prize at the end of all that hard work.  I'm looking forward to doing it differently this time.  And, there's nowhere to go but up from my first performance, people!  Nowhere but UP!!


  1. Great questions Lisa. I wish I had more knowledge to give. I would say this sounds like a good first fartlek workout. I think it can really be any length of faster spurts balanced with slower ones. This type of workout helps you get faster and be able to hold on to a faster pace for longer. Next time I might try pushing it to the 7min range and then balancing it with the 9s or high 8's. sometimes I even used to find benefits to shorter time fartleks at really faster pace. when I'm trying to get in shape after a baby I might run a 8:30 pace with little 30 second spurts at high 6's and then back down. Just play around with it. Any time you're pushing yourself to run at faster speeds, you're only doing good for helping you get in better shape and be able to maintain a higher pace! Awesome! As you comment on some of these blogs you should ask them to check out this post and share their knowledge. Then you'll have lots of wisdom as well as make some good connections! :)

  2. Okay, I can't believe you managed a whole post about something called fartleks and didn't make one immature comment...well done. It makes me giggle. Can't they come up with a better name than that! Funny enough I did something similar to a fartlek in my run yesterday. I had to get outside, after days of putting it off because of the crap weather (mostly really windy). My run had to be a bit shorter than normal so at the very end I stepped up my pace to about double my normal one and pushed it until the end. Not only did it feel pretty good, but hopefully I made the workout a bit more effective.

    I have a question for you to opine on or ask around for views. Is running outside better/worse/more effective/less effective than running on a treadmill?