Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Structured fartlek??

My idea of fartlek training, rightly or wrongly, has always been a 'free' form of running whereby the speed is increased or decreased at will without any real preconceived structure i.e. if you feel like sprinting for 100m or 1000m each are equally valid. However today's run was scheduled as "7miles fartlek with 12x1min bursts". This seemed to introduce a structure strange but hey, I'll try anything once!!

So off I went at lunchtime for my session. The definition of a 'burst' is a bit vague and I interpreted it as generally sub-6min/min but preferably sub-5:45. This seemed to make sense afterall each 'burst' was only to last 1 minute! I also decided that if I was to predefine the length of each 'burst' I should also predefine the 'recovery' which I set as 2 minutes at 7:30 to 8min pace.

The route, shown above, brought me down to the Regional Park and around the playing pitches. A generally flattish grass circuit. I must admit though that planning 12No. intervals was a bit daunting (I usually only count in single digits!!) so I had a Plan B that I would do two sets of 6 with a 4min recovery between sets. There was also a Plan C if the first few 'bursts' didn't go well which consisted of three sets of 4 with a 6min recovery.

The session went reasonably well even if my 'burst' pace was a bit erratic but I stuck to Plan A. In all I covered 6.87miles in 49:37 (avg 7:14min/mile; 170bpm) including 12x1min 'bursts' with 2 min recovery as follows (min/mile ; bpm)

5:50 (168) ; 5:45 (172) ; 5:40 (175) ; 5:45 (177) ; 5:46 (174) ; 5:37 (178)
5:50 (177) ; 5:41 (182) ; 5:31 (183) ; 5:34 (181) ; 5:44 (182) ; 5:46 (181)

'Bursts' 1 to 9 were fine and felt relatively comfortable but I certainly felt like skipping the last 3 (probably influenced by bursts 9 & 10 @ 5:3X pace!!) and my recovery pace dropped accordingly to over 8min/mile. It had been averaging 7:30.

All-in-all a nice & enjoyable session but let's see how the legs are tomorrow!! Maybe putting some structure to fartlek running isn't such a bad thing after all..


Thomas said...

My idea of a fartlek is the same as yours, and a structured fartlek is a bit of a misnomer. That doesn't mean it's not a good workout though.

I usually use my Garmin's interval workouts to do the counting for me. Setting it up before the run takes less than a minute and it means that I can concentrate solely on the running. I have trouble counting to 3 during hard workouts, never mind up to 12.

bricey said...

I did try using the interval workout in the Garmin but I couldn't hear the beeps (my breathing was too loud!!!) so my intervals were too long and my recovery too short!! It just go too frustrating so I manually use the lap button now and that works fine. Besides, counting helps with the concentration...

Love2Run said...

Nice workout! I like these structured type runs and usually use my lap counter for each segment of hard + recovery. The workout is certainly over in a hurry, isn't it?

Jamie said...

Nice job! Good speed there.

Mike said...

That's the only kind of "fartlek" I can do. For whatever reason, I just don't seem to be able to run around at random paces for random lengths of time.

Good run!

Grellan said...

It's not like you to follow instructions. Is the schedule buidling towards something?