Did you know about the event in the Baby Olympics called “How many unique places can you sit?” You didn’t? Oh, well it’s very competitive and Braxton has been practicing regularly. So far he has totally mastered the Lego Wagon, the Laundry Basket (or the “boat” as it’s called around our house), and the Bass Drum (this requires supreme balance, and will be rewarded with high points). He’s working now on the Traveling High Chair. He’s having some trouble (they take points off for any limbs left out), but he will not be deterred. Watch out babies, this guy’s in it for the Gold.
Today’s Training: Cross Day= Jillian DVD. What would I do without her? She’s the cream in my coffee. I chose one with weights this time; I thought my arms needed a good beating today. And now I feel like the Incredible Hulk.
I’ve talked about sprints and hills. I’ve mentioned tempo runs and recovery runs. There are many variations to running, and I must feature an old favorite today: Fartleks.
Yes, that’s seriously a serious thing. And it has nothing to do with gas.
Fartlek is a form of road running where you vary your pace significantly during a run. Some say it’s an advanced training technique, but I call it running FUN (well, it literally is a Swedish word that means “Speed Play”). Think of how a child runs- slow, fast, sprint, slow, gallop, skip, hop….that’s kind of like fartleks. You just go and speed up when you want, slow down when you want.
It’s a more flexible form of Interval Running because you just run how you feel- very fast bouts followed by slower jogs. It’s not a calculated distance like sprints- you just add a Fartlek right into your regular loop.
When I run Fartleks, which I kind of fit into random runs if I feel like it, I use objects. I’ll be running at my regular pace, and I’ll say “Ok, sprint to that mailbox.” And I will. Then back to regular pace for a while, and I’ll see a tree I decide to sprint to. I’ve also played games with myself like, “Everytime you pass a red car, you will sprint for 20 seconds. If you see a man wearing a hat, you’ll sprint for 30 seconds. If I see a dinosaur, I will sprint the rest of this run.” Toy dinosaurs don’t count, only real ones. It makes it fun. It’s like an obstacle course while I run, and who doesn’t appreciate a good obstacle course?
The whole point of them it that they put a little extra stress on your system, which of course will increase your speed and improve your anaerobic threshold. Mostly I just see it as a way to run sprints without being super strict about it. And it has a funny name (I tried to use it a whole bunch!), so you can go to work and someone will say, “Do you want some coffee?” and you will reply, “I do! I also did some Fartlek Training this morning and I feel fantastic!” As for the following, I couldn’t resist:
Try some Speed Play today! Tell me if you run into any dinosaurs.