Benefits of Fartlek Training

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Howdy Friends,

I hope you're week is going well. This morning, I woke up dark and early at 4:30 AM when I heard Belle starting to fuss in her room. I had hoped to fit in a run this morning so I ran outside to see if it was raining before going in to feed Annabelle. The ground was wet, but there wasn't any rain falling at that point. I fed the tiny human, got dressed, grabbed my ipod and headed outside to fit in a quick run before class. As soon as I stepped out from under the porch, I got hit in the face with a cold mist. Dang it!! I was too invested in the run at this point to turn back, so I decided to race the down pour that was coming and run anyways. Since I knew it needed to be a super fast workout, I decided to do a speed work focused run to make my short amount of time count. Since I was just running around my neighborhood (and my Garmin was dead) I had no way of tracking exact distances for sprint repeats, so I decided to go with a fartlek workout instead. Funny name I know!

Fartlek is a Sweedish word meaning "speed play." Sounds like a party already right? Fartlek training is simply a form of interval training where you alternate between intervals of high intensity exercise(sprinting) and shorter periods of low intensity exercise (jogging or walking). Unlike tempo and regular interval runs, fartlek training is unstructured. There is no set ratio of work to rest, and you can vary your intensity throughout your run. After a warm-up, you play with speed by running at faster efforts for shorter periods of time (say, to that red car on the corner) followed by easy effort running to recover.

This morning, I ran about .25 miles to warm-up and then would pick random landmarks (aka street sign, cars, mailboxes) to sprint to (about an 8-9 on the effort scale) and then I would jog to recover until I had caught my breath (about a 3-4 on the efforct scale). I tried to keep my sprint to recovery ratio pretty even this morning since I was trying to get out of the rain quickly, but you can do whatever ratio works for you.

Benefits of Farlek Training:
  • Great mental break from structured speed work.
  • Endless variety of intervals.
  • Improves cardiovascular strength.
  • Improves running stamina.
  • Fun to do in a group because you can alternate who is the leader that gets to dictate the pace and distance.
  • Great for when you are limited on time but want to get in a good workout.
  • Helps improve running speed.
I don't have easy access to a track to do my speed work on so I love Fartlek training sessions. They always leave me feeling strong and accomplished but go by super quickly. Give it a try next time your training schedule calls for speed work and let me know what you think!

After a quick shower, it was time to head up to the studio for my 7 AM Pilates mat class. We had a great turnout despite the dreary weather and had a blast in class. After Pilates, E dropped of Belle sporting her super cute Barre outfit my friend Lacey, owner of Lacey Kaye Creations, made her. Her onesie said "Party at the Barre with my mommy!" She's a Pilates baby through and through!

After she partied at the barre with mommy, it was time to head home for a nap and work time for mom. I hope you all have a fabulous rest of your day.

What is your favorite kind of speed work to incorporate into your training?

In health,

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