This evening I decided to take advantage of the calmer weather and headed to the seafront for some fartlek fun!
My goal for this evening’s run was to attempt to run 5K with negative splits and the strategy was pretty simple – basically, I would try to keep a fairly consistent pace, but by increasing the number of short sprints between lamp posts in each kilometre I would aim to achieve a faster average pace for each split.
The first kilometre was pretty slow. My legs were a bit stiff and I was distracted by the police car that was creeping along the seafront. At first I thought, that’s nice that the police are patrolling the seafront to make sure that everyone is safe – after all, it is pretty dark down there and even though there are usually plenty of runners, joggers and dog walkers within sight, sometimes it can be eerily quiet. But then I thought, hang on… it’s a bit unusual to see police cars on the promenade. What if they are looking for a dangerous and violent criminal?
With these thoughts swimming around in my head, I soon forgot about the stiffness in my legs and decided that it would be fun to try to outrun the police car, which was behind me by this point as I had turned around and started heading west. So, I picked up the pace and completed the first kilometre in just over seven minutes.
Now that I was warmed up nicely and the police car had faded into the distance, along with any associated thoughts of muggers and marauders, I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace for the second kilometre. When I felt ready, I chose a lamp post in the distance and picked up the pace until I reached it – not a full on sprint, but enough to make me push myself quite hard. I repeated this for the rest of the first kilometre, making sure that I left myself enough energy to return to my initial comfortable pace.
The thing I found interesting about this strategy, however, was that my comfortable pace seemed to increase with each kilometre – not so much for the third perhaps, but by the fourth I was running a lot faster and with fewer sprints. In fact, by the final half kilometre, I really didn’t have enough energy for short sprints, so I just tried to focus on a slow steady acceleration to the end of the course.
Overall, the strategy was pretty successful, resulting in (mostly) negative splits and an overall time just ten seconds short of a new PB!
I’ll probably take a break from speed work for the rest of the week to allow my body to recover properly, but I’m thinking that it might be fun to try this as a strategy to improve my Parkrun PB on Saturday, as well as to build up my overall ability to run faster. It certainly added a bit of variety and a lot of fun to the run!
How do you add variety to your running? What’s your favourite type of training run? Are you a fan of fartleks or do you prefer a more structured approach to speed training? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.