Workout 4: The Fartlek Revisited

I was short on time this morning, so I decided to test out a new running workout that I read about yesterday in Runner’s World.  The basic premise of the article is that you can improve your running by learning to break through self-imposed limitations.  The method? Trying to crash and burn:

Start an interval workout at a pace more ambitious than you can normally sustain—up to five percent faster—and pick a threshold that’s two percent slower than your target as your stop signal. Do as many repeats as possible at your target pace, and once you slow to your stop-signal threshold, stop. If you’re doing intervals of 400 meters or less and miss your goal due to a pacing error rather than fatigue, you can take one more crack. Otherwise, one strike and you’re out.

This fit in nicely with the suggestions about self-imposed limitations from a great article shared by Anthony Boardman (EQ trainer) on facebook this week.

My version was a little different, since I wanted to get a pretty accurate sense of distance and speed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to map out a distance outdoors and didn’t have my heart rate monitor for pacing, so I decided to do my first Crash-and-Burn on the treadmill.  I went for time instead of distance to make it easier to track.  My normal “sprint” pace for intervals is ~10mph, so I decided to try:

2 min @ 6.0 mph warmup
6 x 1 min @ 10.5 mph, 45 sec-1 min recovery @ 4.0 mph
1 x 1 min “crashing” and calling the end of the workout
5 min cool down @ 6.0 mph

I’m not a great sprinter — my fast twitch muscles are stubborn — so this felt like a great way to work on my speed.  If you skip the Runner’s World article, I add their one word of caution: this workout can be physically and mentally taxing, so only use it a few times a month.

4 thoughts on “Workout 4: The Fartlek Revisited

  1. Pingback: Workout 6: Sculpt the Shoulders | Steaks, Squats, and Sundresses

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  3. Pingback: Squats and Deadlifts: Tips and Tricks | Steaks, Squats, and Sundresses

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