Running guide: The ‘fartlek’ method
NEW YORK, Sept 18 — If you are training for a 5K, 10K, or even a marathon, your workouts may need some fine-tuning with a technique called fartlek, which is a Swedish word for “speed play.”
The premise of the technique is that normal running regimens do not allow you to build dynamic speed. If you’re sprint training, the theory is that you won’t be able to run long distances without exhausting yourself, while conversely, endurance training means you won’t likely win any medals in a short distance race. Dynamic speed aims to find some middle ground and transform you into a quicker runner who can keep the pace for longer distances.
Fartlek involves running a moderate distance but interspersing 10 sprints of anywhere between 20 and 60 seconds. Physiologically, this allows your body to build cardiovascular endurance while also keeping your fast-twitch muscles trained and ready for “unpredictable” effort changes.
This week, Competitor magazine offered up a ways to try the method yourself:
Avoid the track: “Aside from rattling your nerves, the cold, hard feedback of lap-after-lap splits is an unnecessary evil at this stage of the game,” writes Competitor on starting out in the program. Rather, pick your favourite trail or road route, bring a watch, and try this short fartlek session.
1. Jog easily for 10 to 20 minutes to warm up.
2. Follow with four to six 20-second sprints, jogging 40 seconds in between each sprint.
3. Perform two to five sets of sprints for two minutes, one minute, then 30 seconds, starting a moderate pace for the two-minute interval and increasing the intensity for the one-minute and 30-second segments.
4. Adjust the effort level of each interval, as well as the number of sets, depending on your experience and training focus.
5. For recovery, jog one minute after the two-minute interval and 30 seconds after the one-minute sprint. Take a two-minute jog for recovery in between sets.
6. Cool down with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging.
Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSyo06sZXOU. — AFP/Relaxnews