9 Ocak 2017 Pazartesi

Fatih Buzgan Signature Fartlek

Most of the runners know about all the workout types, including fartlek, means speedplay in Swedish. Runners do fartlek workouts mostly in short splits, like 200mt fast, 300mt moderate, 500 slow, 300mt fast, etc.

Any kind of fartlek workout has benefits on running performance for sure but when it comes to marathon training, the details of any workout become much more important, especially the key workouts.

As it provides different intensities in different lengths, fartlek runs aren't as much demanding as tempo runs, intervals and race pace long runs but still you can make a fartlek session as hard as one of those I just mentioned.

Shorter distance burst speed workouts don't help much for a 42.2km/26.2mile runner, unless you are able to do 40 x 400s, which doesn't even take place in many mortal marathon runner's knowledge. So what is the good distance in a fartlek/speedplay that can be helpful for a distance runner?

1km repetitions are long enough to help improving the endurance, yet short enough to improve agility. Okay, 1km reps are beneficial, what about the rests? It all depends on the intensity you apply in each 1km burst and how many times of 1km reps you will be doing. That's a speedwork/interval session's topic but our focus is on fartlek runs and I find 1km reps with 1km rests very helpful for marathon (also for half marathon) runners.

Isn't a 1km rest too long for 1km fast split? Well, the rest/recovery isn't like the one in your mind I'm meaning here. Let me share some numbers, so it becomes more clear;

If you are capable of running 1km fastest in 3 minutes, then you can 1km repetitions by slowing this down to 3:15, if you want to increase the repetitions, you can slow it down to 3:30 and your rests can be 2 minutes if you are familiar with this workout, or same amount of time with the fast parts in the rests if this is new to you. This is a speedwork's content, we are talking about fartlek and 1K fast, 1K slower fast will be much more helpful for physiological improvement, less hurting (for your joints and muscles).

I don't support writing a workout plan for public as everyone needs a personalized/tailored training plan but to give you an idea, I'm going to share my fartlek session's contents with you;

Fatih Buzgan Signature Fartlek

2km warm up (60-65%maxHR), 3km warm up if the temperatures are below freezing point.
1km on (3:30 to 3:49 pace/km, depending on the incline/decline and wind)
1km off (3:56 to 4:05 pace/km, same criterias above apply)
1 to 2km cool down.

The repetition quantity of the "1km on" depends on your current physical capacity. If you aren't familiar with this type of an intense workout, you may start to try 1 x 1km on, 1 x 1km off, then increase the repetition every week (or every other week, depending on the rest of your workout load in your week).

What is the purpose and benefit of this specific workout? (Always ask this question to yourself or to your coach)

Running at or right below your lactate threshold (82-88%maxHR) aka "Comfortably Hard" (the speed that you can run an hour long) is very beneficial kind of a workout. Here we stress the body not that long (1 hour) but with more sustainable fast rests in between, we increase the fast running time by letting the heart rate go a bit lower than the fast splits, but still almost as high as we may experience in a race.

A slower runner would do it like (After 2km warm up as always), 2 x 1km on (4:45 to 4:59 pace/km), 1km off (5:05 to 5:15 pace/km), 1km cool down.

This is much doable than trying to do a sustained tempo run. Because tempo runs are already tough and sustaining the same high speed/intensity makes it even harder for many runners but running for 1km at or slightly above your lactate threshold and then running the next km below your threshold makes your workout both more doable, less impact on your joints and muscles and more fun with varied speed under your control.

Also, if you find the fast split a bit tiring for the distance you were planning to cover, then go at "off" mode for 2km, instead of 1km. There is nothing wrong with fine tuning your fartlek session due to the given current conditions and your feelings during the workout.

Here is my own fartlek session for you to browse and analyse.
Good luck!

Fatih Buzgan
Online Ironman triathlon & marathon coach

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