noun (TRACK & FIELD)
1. a system of training for distance runners in which the terrain and pace are continually varied to eliminate boredom and enhance psychological aspects of conditioning.
2. “speed play” in Swedish, a training method that blends continuous training with interval training.
I most recently discovered that the term “fart-lek” did mean “speed play” by a friend of mine named Sofia. She is Finnish, so I believed her. As per my Google findings listed above, she is indeed correct. This past Tuesday, I decided to attempt my first fartlek workout since 2012.
I would like to take a second to dissect the definition first.
Distance runner(s). That’s me. Terrain and pace are continually varied. Check (Although I run mostly asphalt, but there were some slopes). Eliminate boredom. What? I don’t normally run or pace to eliminate boredom. I run because I want to push myself and test my limits, but whatever Google you can have that one. Enhance psychological aspects of conditioning. Now that I can hang with. If you have never talked to yourself out loud, do a fartlek. Seriously. No matter what shape you’re in, pushing yourself from one speed to another to another and back to the beginning is a great way not only to test your fitness, but your damn mental strength. I always thought of fartleks as what they are: interval training, but they are definitely a mind game too.
Try one in the humidity after a long, rough day at work, you’ll see how mentally tough you really are. I hate the humidity; it’s why I could never live on the east coast, mid west or any where except Southern California. 2015 is the year of undecipherable weather changes. It is so humid for San Diego. I sweat so much I can wring out my shirt afterward. I had no idea even my shins could perspire.
Any who, my first dance with the speed devil was a 2 x 3 min, 2 min, 1 min at anaerobic threshold pace (under or equivalent to 5k pace) with 1 min of rest in between each set. I warmed up two miles and cooled down three miles. That doesn’t seem like much, but for a girl who hasn’t gotten the rust off her speed wheels yet, it was a tough one.
The harder I would push myself the more I felt like I might throw up. My legs felt tough, but my core felt, well, weak. To put it lightly, I felt somewhere between an Olympic gymnast and a retired cop who scarfed down to many donuts is in their last years.
As I was cooling down back to my apartment, I stopped to get a swig of luke-warm water from the drinking fountain at Tamarack. A woman told me I looked like I was bookin’ it (My words not hers), but she did tell me I looked like I was going 6 minute pace or faster. I didn’t take my GPS with me, so I have no idea what my pace was, but it felt damn hard. I’ll take her word for it. Of course, I thanked her. People’s kindness really does have an effect on how you look at yourself. It made me feel proud, although I felt like shit.
Lesson learned from this workout: putting in core strengthening is just as important as putting in the miles. Adding in these workouts to my routine will probably be the best thing for not only my body, but my mind as well. Oh and I should probably start training for my six pack too. Abdominal’s. Not beer. Hellooooo HIIT workouts.
Last Week in a Nutshell
I completed two of my three goals from last week. I wanted to stretch more, do two workouts and run on Sunday. As you can obviously see, I did a fartlek workout and then a short tempo run Thursday. I also did some stretching after my runs (could definitely increase though)! Friday I did a 4.75 mile easy run. My legs were dead tired. I felt so dense. It was a pretty hard run even though it was so short. I ended up taking an ice bath. I love ice baths. If you ever have tired and sore legs, ice baths are miracle workers. I put 21 pounds of ice in my bathtub. I was talking the phone, so I lost track of time and ended up staying in for 22 minutes. I also lost the feeling in my legs. I usually go for 15 minutes. Try jumping after you get out of an ice bath. It’s the weirdest feeling!
Saturday, I participated in the San Diego Beer Run at the Embarcadero Marina Park. This was a 5k fun run to support the Access Youth Academy, but I can never compete without giving it my all. The competition was minimal, but there were a handful of other runners ready to race. I bought a ticket for my boyfriend Nic too. I figured I could get him to race with me if there was craft beer waiting for him at the end. I also ran into my good high school friend Stacy. (Different Stacy then I have mentioned in other blogs.)
The start was very narrow, so we stood at the front. I don’t usually like to start in the very front because I have a tendency to take off too fast these days. I usually try to start in the back, work my way up and negative split. Since there weren’t very many people trying to run PR’s in this race, I decided it best to stand at the front. It was a fast course. With all pavement and very flat, I definitely had a good opportunity to push myself. My miles splits were 6:08, 6:12 and 6:28. My overall time for the 3.2 miles was 18:57 with an average pace of 6:16. Although, I got progressively slower I am happy with it because it’s a season record. This race solidified that I really need to work on my core.
Speed is something that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Regaining back my speed is a lot harder than I originally anticipated. Right now, I’m trying to put myself out there at those quicker paces. I could feel myself settle in that last mile, but I held on as best I could. I’ll be throwing in some strides after my normal runs this coming week to help with turn over.
My last goal of running on Sunday didn’t happen. I’m still beating myself up about it. I made several poor excuses and had a massive hang over, which I’m not too proud about. Family bocce ball tournaments apparently can get way out of hand. Although, I found that I’m pretty good at playing bocce ball. Anyways, I skipped out on my long run. This is not a habit I want to keep making. I can’t call myself a runner if I don’t run, hang over or not. My overall mileage this week was 32 measly miles.
Next weeks goals:
- Sunday run!
- Start doing HIIT/Core workouts
51st Annual Balboa 4-miler on September 5th (the day before my birthday!)
What are your favorite workouts?
Do you use any tricks to help push yourself through the tough days?