Running my first fartleks

1 mile warmup, then 8 x (30-sec hard / 30-sec easy + 20-sec hard/easy + 10-sec hard/easy + 1-minute recovery), 1 mile cooldown. 4.63 miles total (44:05)

After a strength day yesterday (lower body and core), it was time for my first serious workout: fartleks. I had run a few sessions that ended with intervals and/or hill sprints and 2–3 progression runs, but this was the first time for fartleks. Given how healthy I felt coming out of the Time Trial last week, Coach thinks I‘m’ ready to crank up the volume and intensity and get into more serious training.

I was afraid of these so I ran them along the Greenway — a heavily wooded and shady trail-system along a gentle-flowing creek with basically no slope at all: nice and shady for a 89-degree day. After discussing what “hard” meant for pace with Coach, I settled on something between 1-mile and 2-mile Time Trial pace, but fartleks are a “feel thing” so this was only a general guideline. Bottom line: the goal was to aim the workout for a Perceived Effort (PE) of 7.

I loved this workout. It was hard, no doubt, and it got very tough by the 7th rep, but quite fun to vary the pace and to test running fast within a longer run (for me). It felt like real training compared to most of my running sessions so far, which has been maintenance pace running at a PE of 3–4.

My fast paces turned out to be even faster than mile race pace but the overall workout was still a PE 7. Now I’ll have more to go on for next time as the reps and/or the length of fast/easy running increases and I probably won’t push as hard on “fast” until my fitness improves.

There are more fartleks on the calendar. There is also another Time Trial on June 1.