Training- fartlek

This was supposed to be another ‘interesting places’ post. On the last day of January 2018, I set off for a business trip to Bavaria. I stayed in Garching, just outside of Munich and I had earlier planned a running jaunt to the nearby Schleissheim Palace. I had hoped to jog around its gardens and explore nearby woodlands. Unfortunately, it turned out that the gardens are closed in the morning. What’s more, the weather was ugly: cold (around 3 degrees) and rainy. I decided to change my plan and instead do a fartlek training.

The term ‘fartlek’ comes from Swedish and literally means ‘speed play’. The idea here is that one can ‘play’ while running, by doing all sorts of random intervals at various speeds, as opposed to sticking to what the running watch tells you. Indeed, I can testify, that when I run intervals or a fast 10k I would constantly gaze at my Garmin watch and analyse my speed/pace, monitor the distance and stick to a plan. One can chill out with a fartlek session. Rather than focusing on the duration or length of intervals you can, for instance, one can run:

  • From a lantern to lantern: sprint for two lanterns, then one slowly, then sprint one and then do two slowly
  • Intersections: sprint to the next intersection, then jog to another, then sprint again and so on
  • Flat out: sprint until I lose my breath, then jog a bit and sprint again; do it a few times

I set my alarm clock for 6 AM. It kept ringing and it wasn’t until 6:30 when I somehow managed to get out of bed. Seeing darkness and rain outside, I barely managed to put my shoes on, get dressed for the weather and set off. I was on the verge of giving in and getting back to bed for another hour!

For the first 15 minutes I ran slowly to warm up, as I can never force myself do stretch before running. Then I ran a few intervals guided by intersections and lanterns until I reached a main road where I had to wait a bit to cross it. Once I crossed a nice forest started where I ran 4-5 fast stretches of 300-500 metres each. Then I did a few of short, flat out sprint. Last 15 minutes was a cool-down jog back to the hotel.

Run route with speed heatmap

9.5 km done in slightly under an hour. Despite the ugly weather and difficulty getting out of bed, after all I felt great and had a blissful feeling of a well-started day. Totally recommended!

All the best,

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