Friday, February 29, 2008


I’ve done two sessions of Fartlek on this training cycle. I just love that word, Fartlek. As I type this I find myself amused at the little red squiggle that means it won’t pass through spell check unabated. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play. Part of me wants to ask which syllable is speed and which is play. But I digress.

I am currently doing 5 intervals of two on and two off, meaning two minutes on at whatever pace I can hold comfortably knowing that I’ve got 4 more intervals to go and about 4 miles of total distance to cover.

I’ve never really understood how some of these articles can say 85% of your lactate threshold or 65% or whatever. Just as bad are the articles and books that say to run your 10K pace or your 5K pace I think that is way too technical. I think that you should run bearing in mind you have that many intervals and that distance to cover so go as hard as you can without having to walk on the off’s. Run like Hell and don’t walk!

Put it this way, any 5K or 10K road race you are going to enter will invariably be planned on a fairly flat course. A ‘fast’ course will also have some fairly long straight stretches with few turns to slow you down. All this planning in an effort to get the runners a personal record in ideal conditions. Now let’s for arguments sake say that you ran an 8:00 per mile pace. Is this what you call your 10K pace?

Now let’s take that 8:00 minute pace and turn it into real life Fartlek. You can plan your training runs to be as flat as race courses but that hardly happens. It usually ends up being a route with a less traffic, some nice scenery, and no loose dogs. My particular routes tend to have a few hills in them.

Needless to say when it’s two on and two off you can not control when or if the two’s coincide with a steep uphill, downhill, flat section or any combination of the aforementioned. Trying to hold that 8:00 minute pace becomes a whole lot harder.

This is speed play folks, the key word being play. The reason I enjoy Fartlek aside from the giggle I get when I say Fartlek is that is like playing and it isn’t as serious as a track workout. Run like Hell and never walk that’s the game.

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