Yet Another Running Post… This Time with Fartleks!

Yesterday I posted about my Monday run and how it ended up being a mess.  Well, blogger TrikatyKid in the comments reminded me of a funny running term I had heard before, and sparked my interest.  Currently I have been trying to gradually increase my speed and distance by setting up a running program with a couple of different elements.  I have found that the easy run and long run work outs have worked wonderfully, while Tempo and Interval workouts have proven a little difficult.  This is the nature of training.  There are times where  you need to trust your program and times when you need to admit things do not work and it is time to try something different. For me, I think the ‘different’ lies in  modifying my program and in a way simplifying it.

First some simple background on where I am at:

  • Max Miles in a week 8.5 miles.
  • Max Miles ran at one time without walking – 2.5 miles.
  • Minutes able to continuously run – 45
  • Average pace is 16:30 ( I know, really slow)

So I am slow.  But, I have come a long way from where I was at in May, heck I have come a long way since the beginning of August. One of my goals right now for this month is to run 3 miles.  Once I hit that point I might not bump up the mileage for a couple of weeks.  I also want to work to getting the weekly miles up to 15 miles.  Stress the idea that this is not the goal and I expect I will be gradually working toward this goal this month and probably next month.  Speed wise, I would like to get faster running. I know this will not happen over night.

After reading up on Fartleks and a bunch of other running blogs, I realized I love the idea of a Fartlek and it might be the missing element to my current workout and the key to simplifying things.  Basically a Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’.  I could go into exhaustive additional detail, but honestly, doing a google search will drown you with examples and results.  The simplest way to explain it is an unstructured speed and pace set of intervals.  In some ways, my last workout was very similar.

Besides running, I am training for a triathlon so I also throw in swimming and spin workouts right now.  Besides those workouts, I also want to do at least two weight  and plyometric workouts a week.  My current running program  has made this difficult as often my legs feel super sore and I have had little motivation to push them for additional workouts on following days. What I need is easy workouts in the beginning of the week, something challenging speed wise and short int he middle and long and challenging in the end for endurance.  But I also want to get some miles in every week. This is why I feel  Changing  to a new plan will make it easier to get the weights back into the plan and make my all training efforts more efficient.

So, here is my new running plan I am going to try for a few weeks and see how it goes(only types of running work will change):

  • Monday/Friday – Easy run.  I love these and have found they make all other workouts go smoother.  Also, I think they have had the best impact overall on my current increases in speed and distance.
  • Monday/Friday – Strides. After finishing easy runs, do a 5-6  20-30 second fast runs in the parking lot.
  • Wednesday – Speed Day in the form of Fartleks.  For now this will be 2 miles, but I like the unstructured nature of these.
  • Saturday – Long day.  This Saturday I am shooting for 3 miles and will probably shoot this higher after 2-3 weeks (Wont be running the following weekend, will explain later).  The goal will be to increase this a little bit every week.

I think this running plan will work well and will hopefully get me back on track with doing Tuesday and Thursday weight sessions.  It truly is not much different from the current routine, but with an extra easy run recovery day.  Curious to hear what you think, as always I am open to suggestions.  Til next time…


  1. You are making progress and that is what matters! You may have mentioned this before, but do you wear a heart rate monitor? A find it to e an essential tool in my training. Learning my aerobic and anaerobic zones helps. On your push to 3 miles, knowing your heart rate may help. Psychologically it is difficult to get past some barriers – 2.5 miles. If you are at a heart rate within a desired range, you will know you can go on a bit more. The transition will happen!

  2. Thanks, yes I wear a heart rate monitor. At my normal pace, I can go further, its a matter of getting my legs acclimated to the miles. Part of the reason I am focusing on a couple of easy days, just to get myself running more miles. I felt like last week I could have gone further but 2.5 miles was the extent of the path I chose. Yes, it will happen!

  3. Have you done lactate testing? It helps to find your zones and rain accordingly. Sometimes going slower will actually speed you up… With Eric’s training he took 20mins off his 1/2 Marathon time in less than 3 months…the testing is usually 200.00 or so but very worth it to find your z zones (z1, z2,z3).. And where your body performs aerobic and anaerobic .. Good luck

  4. Not a bad idea. I have pretty much one speed right now… slow. If I had the extra cash I would jump at trying it. Good suggestion.

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