MarathonMaiden's Blog

May 19, 2010

Oops. I Fartlek’d

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:31

….okay so that joke will NEVER get old

Woot to that video interview! Glad you guys liked it 🙂

And thanks for all the get-well good vibes! I sure needed them.  I don’t know what it was but in the past week I’ve gotten TWO 24 hour flu-like bugs.  This time, like last, all I have to show is some residual sinus pressure.  I did go to the doc (both last week and this week) and they told me there wasn’t anything they can do for me.  I just need to take it easy.  Did I mention that it’s senior week? Yeah, taking it easy ain’t going to happen.

Oh well.  I’m feeling MUCH better today.  A little sinus pressure but nothing major.  And despite me saying that the doctor I saw on Monday said there wasn’t much I could do, I do have a Rx for an antibiotic in case things don’t get better.  The deal is that I likely have a sinus infection, the large majority of which are viral.  So if my body can’t fight it off (which it appears to be doing though *knockonwood*) I’ll fill the Rx.  I’ve just been on soooo many antibiotics lately and, if I can avoid it, I will.  Plus antibiotics are over prescribed anyway.  But that’s a different topic.

Yesterday I got a great lifting session in as well as a solid run.  I’m saddened that my body is re-adjusting to the lifting and I don’t get the same soreness I did when I first re-introduced it.  I know I can always do something crazy, like switch up my routine, but that takes planning and to be quite honest I think I’ve killed my brain cells that do that function this week 😛

And this morning I got up wayyyyy too early to do a 10 miler.  I had something important to do (which I’m going to be cagey about not to jinx myself but still be selfish and ask for good vibes) and I knew that the rest of my day today would be just as busy.  I didn’t intend on running 10 (haha that rhymed) but I was at 8.7 and I have a perfect 1.3 mile route that I decided to do.  Plus I had already worked my core for 3 straight days and I tend to run on a 3on-1off-2on-1off week with core.  So I had a bit of extra time.

The first few miles were crap but I think it was because A) it was much earlier than I’ve been getting up and B) it was icky out.  Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t not like running in the rain but seeing clouds in the sky, even overcast, just puts a mental damper on things.  Luckily it wasn’t raining, more like misting, but over the course of 10 miles a little misting adds up to soaked clothing and that ick factor.

The rest of the run ended up being pretty good.  Since it’s been 4+ weeks since Boston I figured that this week would be a good week to re-introduce speed work.  After all I’ve been doing LRs and lifting sessions for two weeks now.  And all the “recovery plans” I’ve looked at have said that W+3 and W+4 are good times to add some more intensity.  Granted I think these plans also want you to have a target race 4-5-6 weeks out and I do not, but hey.  Plans are plans and they make my world go round.

My world maybe but my body?Even though I’m feeling soooo recovered from Boston I still wanted to take it easy.  In this respect I’m kind of a beginner again.  Obviously I can’t, just like someone lacing up their shoes for the first time, jump into 5 X mile repeats or remember that killer workout I did during training: 3 X [4X 800m]? Yeah so do I.  Not something I really need to do right now. That and I pretty much knew that my body would want something less structured and more go-with-the-flow coming off this cold-esque dealio.

So I opted for a fartlek workout.  I didn’t really ever like fartleks because they’re not really formal or something that I could concretely describe in my log books.  But they do require lots of hard work and intensity and focus and it was silly of me to avoid them. Now some info about the fartlek:

What is it? Well it’s Swedish for speedplay and the gist is that you speed up / sprint / go fast for some distance. Nothing exact or anything, more like 20-30 seconds or, like I did today, the length of 4 telephone poles.  You can go farther or short, faster or slower depending on how you feel or what your goal is.

What is the goal? For me, the point of the workout was to just get my legs to remember how to do faster turnover but, in the past, I’ve used it to do harder sprinting and a less formal way to get those intervals in because you can change the intensity based on how you feel.  It’s also great for endurance work because you’re constantly in motion, every time you pick up the speed you challenge your cardiovascular systems and make gains. Yay for getting faster and more endurance-ified.

How do I do it? Head out for a run.  After going long enough to feel warmed up then push the pace *hard* for anywhere from 30-60 seconds.  Slow back down to your warmup pace until you’re not breathing hard.  Repeat.  For a beginner try maybe 5 (?) at first and as you get fitter you can increase.  For example I did 4 speed ups during my run.  I wanted to do more but my body was “eh”.  Like everything listen to your body

When should I do it? I like to do fartleks when I’m not in training for anything given the informal nature of the workout.  It is a speed workout so I wouldn’t do it before another speed workout such as intervals or a tempo.  Just because of my Type-A ways I favor more formal and tangible ways to get speed done during race training but you can definitely incorporate it that way if you choose.  Just remember that the sprinting portions would need to intense (ie at least 30-40 seconds per speed up).

Hopefully you guys enjoyed this more informative post.  I know lots of those who comment probably already knew this stuff but I think lots of you have the same attitude I have/had about them: not “hardcore” enough.  But that’s the beauty: you can make them as hard or easy as you want.  Plus I have some readers who are more beginner based and thought this would be useful (and feel free to comment! I don’t bite. Hard 😉 )

Checkout the giveaway from Tricia


  1. Yes I’m a 5 year old at heart 🙂

    Comment by Laura — May 19, 2010 @ 15:43

  2. Oh yeah, my favorite ever running term, the fartlek.

    Glad you are feeling better!!!

    Comment by ShutupandRun — May 19, 2010 @ 16:06

  3. he he… You make them sound a little more fun than they actually are…

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — May 19, 2010 @ 16:16

  4. okay the best title ever. cracked up just seeing it on the side bar on another person’s blog.


    Comment by Emily — May 19, 2010 @ 16:17

  5. fartlek runs are my FAVORITE “getting back into getting back in shape” run, haha. I usually start with 8 x 20 seconds over the middle part of a 7-8 mile run, and then a week or two later do 8-10 x 30 seconds. The fast parts are probably mile-3k race pace, but the beauty is that I get my legs turning over quick without wearing myself out or stressing about what speed.

    Comment by kristinschleicher — May 19, 2010 @ 16:19

  6. I hope your something “important to do” turned out well…sending good vibes your way!! Fartlek will never tire of being a funny word…hehe, but gosh they’re so good for us :).

    Comment by Jill — May 19, 2010 @ 16:21

  7. You can’t help but laugh at that! Good session, too, especially in recovery mode. Make sure you are nice and strong, properly rested, and feeling 100% before you add too much speed, though. Look after yourself.

    Comment by Ian — May 19, 2010 @ 21:45

  8. Sending good vibes for you important things to do! Today’s weather was crappy, I really wanted to run outside but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Hope you are feeling better and enjoying senior week!

    Comment by BostonRunner — May 19, 2010 @ 22:04

  9. I just stopped using the term because I am 12 years old and can’t even hear the word “abreast” without giggling. I call them surges. And I agree, they are a great way to reintroduce speed into your training without getting fussy with details.

    Comment by sarah — May 20, 2010 @ 06:56

  10. […] for Thursday night.  Therefore, light fartleks won the day.  [BTW – I’m starting to think Marathon Maiden and I are on the same cosmic running plan.  I read her blog after I returned from my workout last […]

    Pingback by Fun with Fartleks « A Marathoner — May 20, 2010 @ 11:44

  11. Haha, no that joke will never get old.

    You won’t always be really sore from lifting, even if you change up your routine. That ok though, your muscles are just in good shape.

    Comment by Jess — May 20, 2010 @ 13:27

  12. Dude, we are seriously on the same running wavelength. I did fartleks yesterday too. Glad you are starting to get some turnover. It’s funny, without having a race on the calendar to focus on, I don’t know how I’d get motivated for intervals. Fartleks are a nice alternative. Great job!

    Comment by a marathoner — May 20, 2010 @ 14:15

  13. OK i do fartleks running from one telephone pole to the next lol!! Its so easy and sometimes nice to mix things up! I really like doing the 1 minute on, 1 minute off kind of thing or the 2 minutes at 5k pace, 3 minutes recovery. I totally want to do a hard interval workout this weekend just like you (and me) used to do! lol The treadmill stinks but somehow it was so nice to just plug in the pace and go!

    Comment by J — May 21, 2010 @ 09:08

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