Fartlek for New Runners
In order to try and keep my running fresh and help build my stamina, I am trying to run a weekly Fartlek. When I first embarked upon running, I had no idea what a Fartlek was. However, it was something that serious runners seemed to think was a good idea.
A little research revealed that Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”. So all you need to do is vary your speed. Think, walk, jog, sprint. Pick a tree in the distance. Jog to it. See another one? Sprint to it. Walk a little. See a telegraph pole? Jog to it. A mark on the trail? Sprint to it. You get the idea.
Some people advocate very structured sessions (Sprint 30 seconds, jog 30 seconds etc) . Garmins and other devices can help with that. I simply prefer to mix it up a bit. It’s hard. Very hard.
The science behind it is interesting.
By varying the intensity of your workouts, you will burn more calories than you would by keeping a steady pace. Your workouts become more efficient, because you burn more calories during your workouts without increasing the amount of time devoted to the workout.
For someone like me, who is overweight and usually short of time, it is a very efficient way to run. It maximises the workout and ensures I avoid wasting an hour running “junk miles”. At least, that’s the theory….
Ian Unsworth QC is running 2015 miles in 2015 in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer. You can follow his year by reading his blog 2015 in 2015