Yea! I did my first series of fartleks today! That being said, we're still trying to adjust around my house to saying the word "fartlek" with a straight face!
I didn't do a ton today, but I did 4x800m (about .5 mile) today. Ideally, when you do fartleks, you want to go at a pace that pushes yourself just a little beyond what you're normally comfortable running. For me, this meant keeping a pace up of around 6.0 to 6.2 mph, which I know to many runners would be their normal jogging pace, but for me, that's pushing it pretty hard. In between each one you can do a resting walk or jog. Jeff Galloway suggests about 2:30 to 3 minutes between each 800m fartlek, so I tried to stick to the 2:30. By the final (4th) fartlek I was feeling pretty beat up. However, if I think about it, the fact that I was able to continue running at my normal 5-ish mph pace for another 40 minutes after that means I couldn't have been TOO much the worse for wear.
Initially when I got done with my workout today I was a little disappointed with my seemingly average pace... as you'll see below, it's nothing special for any given workout for me. However, after I was completely done and off the treadmill (and the oxygen had returned to my brain), I remembered that today's 75 minutes included a 5 minute warm-up at a much slower pace... so when you take that into account, the other 70 minutes were actually pretty good. I think if I take out the warm-up my pace came out to about 5.1 mph, which is a little better than normal... yea! My pace wasn't so bad after all.
The main point of the fartleks is to try and bring a little speed into your endurance runs. Ideally, you would be able to carry this surge forward & fall back pacing into a race, which would ideally allow you to run the entire race at a little better pace than straight line pacing might. I'm not sure how rigidly I'll be able to adhere to that principle, but I think that doing these speed intervals is good for my training, no matter how much of the actual technique translates over to race day.
In the meantime, I think I will try saying the word "fartlek" at least 15 times a day in order to desensitize myself... no one in the running community will take me seriously if I can't at least fake a straight face when I say it out loud... no matter how much I'm cracking up on the inside!
Pace: 4.9 mph