Fartlek You Say?
Today I took off for my regular 10km run around the seawall but today something was different. I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t hold my pace, my legs were building up too much lactic acid, and I was winded very quickly. Rather than ditch the workout I modified it to match how my body felt. I ran fast for as long as my legs would allow and alternated this with brisk walking until my legs had fully recovered. I repeated this pattern until I reached 10 km. This technique is commonly referred to as Fartlek Training or speed play. Although it sounds an awful lot like high intensity interval training (HIIT) there is one stark difference: Anything Goes! These are not timed intervals in fact they are intervals based how your body”feels”. Training involves alternating between intense bouts of exercise and recovery periods that are not determined by a stopwatch but rather the body’s internal sensory system.
Why Should I Fartlek?
Essentially, Fartlek is a form of interval training that can be used to improve both your speed (anaerobic capacity) and endurance (aerobic capacity). It is typically used by runners and athletes of all sports, but any type of training may follow its simple guidelines. It is especially useful anytime you have hit a training plateau or lack the results you want.
Let’s use training in the gym for example, we all create workout routines that invariably become stale, boring, and cause us to miss valuable gym sessions. Going to the gym should never become a daunting task you feel you have to do today. There are so many outlets for you to find new routines, new training styles, or new ways to use the same exercises. If you’re at the point where going to the gym is boring try walking in next time and just do whatever exercises you “feel” like doing in whatever sequence you feel like doing them in. If you’re used to training specific body parts on specific days do a full body workout and take little rest, or take longer rest periods, go wild. If you’re used to full body workouts focus on a few body parts and go hard. The only rule is to listen to your body. Rest for as long as you need before the next set.
When To Fartlek
I recommend you do this type of training anytime you’re about to switch your workout routine and or you become bored with your current routine, whichever comes first. Do a week of this type of training and follow it with a solid week off and come back refreshed and ready for the next few months of training that lay ahead.