Okay, hopefully you weren't expecting the secret to enlightenment from me or anything crazy like that. The best I can possibly hope to offer you is a little encouragement and wisdom on your way to health, fitness, and maybe being a little bit better runner.
Actually, this phrase comes from my brother. As you may have already heard, last weekend, Heather actually beat him during the 5K even they ran... which included a nasty hill. Well, my brother was a little frustrated that he was bested by a girl - his wife nonetheless - but in the end he had to admit one very important thing... that he would never again doubt Heather's inclusion of fartleks into her training schedule. Working these sprints into her routine has really upped her speeds... and I think her overall fitness level.
Today was my second set of scheduled fartleks and I must confess it was NOT a pretty sight. Not sure that I can analyze exactly what happened, but I think I started out with my first one way too fast. My ego was far outpacing my legs with disastrous results. Instead of doing a series of 6 x 800m fartleks, I ended up only doing 4 x 800m with the last one being at a pace not too much above my normal running pace. Talk about having my ego knocked down a few pegs!
Fortunately, after a few minutes of recovery walking - after feeling somewhat light-headed during the fartlek portion of my workout - I was able to pick up and do the rest of my time (goal of 75 minutes) running at my normal pace... or even up just a bit. It occurs to me to wonder if I could have done a little bit more since I was able to ultimately recover and finish my run, but at the time I felt pretty thrashed and I wanted to live to run another day!
Still, no matter how bad the fartleks were in and of themselves, they did ultimately achieve the desired effect, which is to improve one's overall time. Yesterday I was able to run about an additional .1 mile (I know, I know, not a lot, but still, it all counts!) from what I would normally run on a 75 minute run day.
I will try the fartleks again next week, keeping yesterday's dismal display foremost in my mind... not to continue to punish myself, but as a reminder to not get too far ahead of myself. Like the actual race itself, my training needs to be a well paced marathon (or half, in my case), not a sprint out the gate that ends in a blazing crash & burn.
Here's to all of us remembering to channel our inner the tortoise... with just a wee bit of the fartleking hare thrown in for good measure!
PS. I was surprisingly (and blessedly) pain free after my elliptical workout of Tuesday. I added another 10 minutes to it today. I hope my good fortune continues!
Miles: 6.25 (including 4x800m fartleks)
Pace: 5.0 mph