Tonight was my first fartlek session, or at least my first proper one. I had a go at fartleks a couple of weeks ago and failed miserably because I ran at full throttle for the first fast interval, leaving myself completely exhausted and unable to complete the workout as planned.
So, this evening, I was better prepared. Although farleks are generally supposed to take away the rigid structure of interval training, I decided that having some kind of plan at this stage would be useful.
My plan was to do a 30 minute run, broken down into three repeats of 9 minutes slow/steady and 1 minute of steady/fast. This worked quite well as I was able to focus on increasing my pace for the 1 minute sections, knowing that I had enough time to recover before doing it again.
What I found was that even though my first steady/fast section wasn’t particularly fast, this improved as the workout went on and my confidence increased. So much so, that the final minute was the fastest of all.
The graph below gives a fairly good indication of my change of pace, although I do find that the RunKeeper app tends to be a little bit generous with the pace at the start of the run.
Overall, my average pace was nothing to shout about, but I am starting to get a feel for the whole fartlek thing, which will hopefully help to improve my speed in the long run.
Next week, I plan to do another 30 minute fartlek session but will see if I can push myself to go faster in the speed sections and shorten the length of time I use for recovery.
Have you used fartlek workouts in your training? Do you have a plan before you start or do you do the whole thing purely by feel? Please share your thoughts in the comments.