Runner’s World January 2006
By Jeff Galloway
THE STARTING LINE
The best speed workout for the season
MESSY WINTER WEATHER can make track workouts and
other types of speedwork difficult to do consistently and safely.
Not so for fartlek workouts. Swedish for “speed play,”
fartlek training is an unstructured form of speedwork where you
vary your pace from fast bursts of running to easy jogging. Because
fartlek training is a free-form activity that can be done just about
anywhere, it’s the perfect type of speedwork for winter.
To maintain your speed during the cold-weather months, do one fartlek
workout every week. Try any of these three workouts, or use them
as the basis to make up your own. Keep in mind that the fartlek
segments are run hard, but not all-out.
RUN FOR DISTANCE. With this workout, use landmarks
to dictate the length of your faster and slower segments. Once you’ve
warmed up, look ahead and pick an object-maybe the next telephone
pole or tree. Run faster until you reach that landmark, then immediately
pick another object up ahead about the same distance away and jog
to it. Start with three to five fartlek segments and add one or
two per week.
RUN FOR THE HILLS. Add an extra strength component to your
winter fartleks by running them on inclines. Short hills, overpasses,
inclines in parking garages, and ramps in stadiums all work well.
Begin with inclines that are about 50 steps in length. As you go
up the incline, gradually increase your turnover and speed. Walk
or jog down. Start with two or three incline repeats and add one
more each week until you can run eight.
RUN FOR TIME. You can do this type of fartlek workout
anywhere since your watch is your guide. After your warmup, run
faster segments of one minute, two minutes, or three minutes. Alternate
the fast segments with easy jogging or brisk walking for the same
amount of time as your fartlek segment. Start with three to five
fartlek segments and add one or two per week.
Q:As a new runner, should I time myself on every run?
A: Feel free to leave your watch at home on most of your runs. After
giving the runners in my training program the choice of timing their
miles or not, those who ran watchless most of the time remained
more motivated to run regularly. Micro-managing your pace each mile
by watching the clock adds extra pressure to perform-which counteracts
the stress-busting capabilities of running and can lead to injury
Timing yourself during a weekly speedwork session is helpful when
you’re gauging your progress. But even speedwork can be dictated
by effort instead of time. Fartlek workouts, for example, don’t
always require a watch (see “Winter Blast,” above).
So lose the watch more often than not to keep running enjoyment
high, since that’s what will keep you coming back for more.
(SAY WHAT?) RUNNING JARGON, TRANSLATED
Master- A runner who is 40 years of age or older is designated a
“master” in the United States. Other countries use the
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