Fartleks and strides and guess what, I love em!

I love running, obviously.  I also love training and running races.  Unfortunately, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that, at least without pain or the risk of injuring myself further.

Grunpy

I’m finally at a place where I can start to train again and I have been doing so for a few weeks but it’s been awhile and I’m not going to lie to you, you lose conditioning.  When you take a lot of time off, (I’m talking weeks here) you have to slowly build your endurance back up.   You can’t just go out and run all the miles, as in the same distance you ran 3 or 4 months ago, or you will risk injury.

Just to give you an idea of what this looks like for me, I average 3 to 4 miles most days and my long run is currently only 6 miles, which I ran on Sunday.  Six months ago I would run 10-12 miles every Saturday and another 20-25 during the week, so it’s a little disheartening but I found  a way to get over it.

doctors and runners

 

I am doing something a bit different this time.  First, I’m not stressing out because really, what would be the point in that.  Second, I’m slowly building my endurance by only ramping up my long run by 1 mile a week and staying mostly with 3 to 4 mile runs for three or four days during the week.

However, I’m a perfectionist and I need to see improvement and so this time, I’m working on speed while I slowly build my endurance by doing two interval workouts each week and I’ve already started to see an improvement.

The first thing is that old standard, the fartlek.  I do this when I don’t feel like being too structured and I don’t want to concentrate on any set distance.  I just look at say, a mailbox down the street and speed up until I get to it and then I jog in between until I find something else to speed up for, like the ice cream truck.  I kid, but you get the point.

Last Wednesday, this was a screen shot of the pace I was at while doing fartleks.

fartlek

The second thing I do is practicing strides. I start off running easy for 45 seconds and speeding up for 15 seconds.  As the run progresses I run longer strides and take longer recoveries.  When I first started doing this my farlek pace and stride pace was about the same but now I’m seeing improvement with every speed session.  This is what todays stride pace looked like on average,

Strides

I got a little faster toward the end and in the beginning I was a bit slower but do you see the improvement?  Interval training is also very good for your heart health.  I’m learning to love speed work and seeing improvement in my speed after running so many years is a big motivator too.

I’m shooting for an average 5K pace of 7:30 and I think I can get there this winter.  🙂

Do you work more towards endurance or speed? 

Do you enjoy training for races or are you content with your current speed and  endurance level?

Most importantly, do you believe runners can get better at any age?  I think it depends on the level they started at.

4 thoughts on “Fartleks and strides and guess what, I love em!

  1. This is me right now. I’ve been training for marathons year round for the past few years, my paces were good,and I was getting PRs. But now I’m coming back from time off and injury and it’s frustrating that I’m not in the same shape! It’s hard to get in the right frame of mind sometimes, but I’m getting there. I’m glad you are back at it again! Speedwork is still off my plan 🙂

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