“Fartlek” is the Swedish word for “Speed Play.” I LOVE Fartleks! Back in my days as a performance athlete – and even now when I feel like having some fun in a workout – I create a Fartlek for myself.
Have fun with this workout and you will be surprised how hard you find yourself working. If you have a group, take turns being the leader. Each leader decides how far to run for an interval or what exercise to do.
Anything goes within the designated 25-minute workout time – be creative! Short intervals of 20-30 seconds, or longer if it feels right. Include agility and strength exercises – everything from sit-ups to push-ups, high-knee drills, running backwards and combinations there-of. Take a slow walk/run recovery in between your intervals and exercises as you feel.
Try to think about variety and balance. For example, I’d suggest starting with an agility exercise (marching, side-to-sides, leg swings, lunges, butt kicks, karaoke cross-overs) and then come up with a strength exercise (sit-ups, push-ups, planks, wall sits), and then running intervals of anywhere between 20 seconds to 3 minutes.
Try not to do all sprints or only sit -ups and push-ups. Take yourself back to any gym class you may have had and come up with combinations of exercises and intervals as you feel.
Be careful not to work too hard! Make sure you take the recovery you need. In my experience people can be tougher on themselves than if I actually prescribe a set pattern to follow. Go to a field and simply use it for exercises and intervals for the prescribed 25 minutes. Most importantly, have fun! There is no right or wrong combination.
Tired legs? You may find you feel a heaviness in your legs as both volume and intensity in the program have been slowly increasing. That's normal! With Fartleks, you can work out as hard as you feel comfortable with. The variety will actually help your body and brain to feel better.
Know that although you may feel a little tired, your tiredness or heaviness is because you are reaching a new fitness level. Persevere through this and soon you’ll come out the other side. Your body is constantly adjusting to its new workloads and a training effect is taking place.
Technique & 10-and-1s
Woo Hoooooo you've arrived at Magical 10-and-1s! Enjoy the freedom to run combinations of running and walking as you feel on your other 2 days this week. You are ready now to capable of running 10-and-1s – there are people who complete marathons this way! You can also choose 5-and-1s, or even 1-and-1s. The choice is yours! Remember, this is always your OWN session. Some of you will begin to run steadily and not walk at all. That's up to you!
Stay within what feels good. Train as you feel… enjoy your fitness and push your pace as long as you feel as though you could always do more.
As always… “no strain,” okay?
Keep your torso upright but relaxed, with the weight of your stride over the middle-to-ball of your foot rather than on a heavy heel. Take a nice big breath while you are running (just like in yoga) to bring your shoulders away from your ears. It will help relax your whole body, but especially your upper body. It will also allow for a relaxed swing of the arms and a nice flow of oxygen to your muscles. If you are tired, remember to take smaller steps with that nice little swing of the arms dictating your pace and rhythm.
You are now beginning to know yourself better as a runner.
In the remaining weeks, you will be given the option to vary your volume slightly in Session 2 and 3 (depending on how you're feeling). Enjoy the freedom, but please stay within the suggested time parameters. If you are a beginner, stay with the shorter suggested options. If you are more experienced you’ll understand what “as you feel” means, and perhaps choose the longer suggested options. It depends on how you feel and what sort of distances you are already comfortable with.
The longer volumes will allow you to progress safely and easily to the 10K distance if you are feeling ready for that option.