I have found that one of the best ways for me to get through a long run in windy conditions is to have some fun with it. And of course, what is more fun than running fast? The word Fartlek, is a swedish word that runners use that means speed play. It is used for workouts that incorporate some component of speed that are not traditional Tempo or VO2 workouts.
In the purest form, they are supposed to be freestyle. Perhaps you run with a friend speeds up to some faster pace, and stays there for awhile. You go with him and after awhile you and your friend back off to your slower speed. A little later you take the lead and speed up, and then slow down. Another form I plan to do soon would be to alternate between my marathon goal pace of 7:20-7:25, and a pace half way between there and “easy”, about 7:50 – 8:00 pace. The fun thing would be that I would not have to do any set time or distance, whatever distance I go faster, I have to do the same slower. So I could do a mile fast, then a mile slow, then a quarter fast then a quarter slow, then 2 miles faster, and so on until a prescribed total distance is covered. I figure this would be a good way to get in a run with lots of marathon pace in it, and the rest not too easy.
Today’s Fartlek Intervals were similar in form to those of a few weeks ago. I started with 7.5 nice and easy with Chuck, Lance and Tony. Well, Lance only stayed with us a couple of those miles then he did his “run away from us all” thing. At 7.5 Tony and I started the intervals. Today I planned 15 reps of 2 minutes fast with 2 minute recovery intervals. These were meant to be in the 10K to Half Marathon pace range. Of course with the crazy winds out there this morning the pace was very inconsistent. Also, given the structure of these there is no good way to tell during the run exactly how well you are doing. My one watch beeps every two minutes. I speed up, hit the split on my Garmin, I slow down and hit the split on my Garmin. The Garmin only tells me it has been two minutes since the last split (duh!) I have to go home and download the data to find the distance covered in each split and the average pace of each split. Here is what I came up with:
So, overall I am pleased. I averaged just a tick under my 6:58 goal half marathon pace.
Now, if you compare this to some of the Tempo workouts I have done of late, it may seem easy. I have done Tempo runs of 3 x 2 miles and another at 5 straight miles at 7:00 or under pace. The difference is that the Tempo runs have a mile warm up and a mile cool down so they total only 7 or 8 miles. The miles above were done after a 7.5 mile “warm up.”
Another interesting comparison for this workout is to compare it to one of my Tuesday night speed workouts. On a Tuesday night I might do 2 minute repetitions. But on a Tuesday I would probably max out at 9 or 10 reps. The 2 minute recovery intervals would be part walk and part jog (not a 9 minute pace recovery run like today) Of course the Tuesday night 2 minute reps would be run faster. I would average 6:10 – 6:30 pace for such a workout.