so usually, i write about new workouts i try on wednesdays, since that's typically the day i cross-train. but, this week i had to move some workouts around and found myself running on wednesday.
tonight, though, i really wanted to run. nothing far, nothing fast, nothing really even training related,
actually. i wanted to run for fun. i wanted to be outside and get my heart pumping and listen to music and just enjoy the run.
enter the fartlek. it's such a funny word, i know. but, i read a lot about fartleks when researching what to include in your training before half marathon training started, and they sounded interesting. basically, a fartlek is an unstructured form of speedwork where you cycle through different speeds whenever you feel like it. some people use trees as their markers to change pace, some people use time, some people use stopsigns. it's kind of a game with yourself.
usually, to get the full benefit, fartleks take about 45 minutes. but, because i wasn't really planning on doing cardio today and i really just wanted to have a bit of fun outside before the sun went down, i decided just to do about 20 minutes. i put my playlist on, and started running at my normal pace. and then, as i hit the end of the straightaway, i took off sprinting towards the "no parking" sign i could see in the distance. once i got there, i slowed down to a quick walk to regain my breath. the sprint was fun, and i wanted to do it again. once my garmin rounded up to a new tenth of a mile, i started my normal pace again, and then at the start of a new block, off i was again, sprinting.
and so it went. i kept going, using new signs and trees as endpoints, until it got too dark for me to be comfortable outside. but it was so fun, i wish i could have kept going.
so would i do fartleks again? absolutely.
there is something so refreshing about being able to run without feeling pressure to hit particular times or distances. i really think i might incorporate fartleks in to my weekly training with one of the short, maintenance runs i have on weekdays. or, i might just have another fun fartlek friday (fff?). who knows. i also, for some reason, think they'd be really fun to do with somebody else. sort of a "race you to the soccer field!" type of thing from grade school. obviously, i'm really excited about them. in fact, i kind of feel like i need to buy these now...