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Big River Racing is debuting a new type of blog post called the Workout Write-up. One of Big River Racing’s team members will discuss one of their favorite types workouts and provide details about how and when to the workout. This week’s Workout Write-up comes from Matt Lawder.
Speed work with a little bit of strength
This is a variation of the classic Fartlek run. For those that don’t know what Fartlek means, it is Swedish for “Speed Play”. A Fartlek alternates short segments of hard running with jogging or regular running in between. In this version, the speed segments are 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute (that’s where the name comes from). These segments are based on time instead of distance. So you have to judge your own effort level. Usually the effort goes between about 5k for the 3 minutes reps to 800m pace for the minute reps.
The rest between each rep should be 1 minute of jogging. So, the workout would go 3 minutes hard, 1 minute jog, 2 minutes hard, 1 minute jog, 1 minute hard. I like to do 3-4 sets of these for a complete workout with a 2 minute jog between sets. So the entire workout is continuous running with hard segments interspersed with regular running.
When is a good time to do this workout?
I like to do when I’m getting back into shape and want to get in a good effort with having to measure my exact pace. That way I don’t have to worry that I might not be hitting pace and can just base it on effort. I also like to toss it in during segments when most of my workouts are long strength based efforts. This workout is a good break from strength without as much pressure as going to the track for fast reps. And it’s easy to get in quickly in the morning if you are crunched for time because the rest portion of the workout is active so you get extra mileage from the rest and don’t have to go on a measured course.
Additionally the mixture of segment lengths also helps to break up the monotony of the workout and gives you a several different paces to work on. After running the three minute rep, the two minute rep feels shorter and after the two minute rep the one minute rep will feel short and you’ll get to your extra rest between sets. This lets you push during the two and the one minute reps.
If you do 4 sets it ends up being 24 minutes of hard effort so while the workout is a speed workout you aren’t completely giving up on strength. And since the workout is based on time you can do this workout anywhere. If you want more strength try doing the reps on a more hilly route.
When did you last run this workout and how did it go?
I ran this workout several weeks ago midweek before a 15k race to get in a little speed work before the race but still keep my mileage up.
Why do you like this workout?
I like the balance between several different speed paces while still getting in some good mileage. Also you can adjust the workout to be more speed or strength based by going on hills or pushing harder during the resting segments. It’s also a good way to get some faster work in the winter when you may have a tough time finding good footing. Since you can run this workout anywhere and its effort based it’s a good way to get in some up tempo work in bad conditions.
Favorite location for this workout:
Anywhere! Although if I had to pick a location, I really enjoyed running this workout at the City’s Tilles Park (not the one with the Chirstmas lights). It’s a small park off of Hampton in South City. I used to be able to jog over there from where I used to live in about 10 minutes. The park don’t have a ton of trails, but offers a couple of good hill options to run up and you can basically pick what type of terrain you want to do each segment, but the loops are big enough that they aren’t too monotonous. I would even do a segment or two on the grass fields instead of pavement sometimes.
If you do this workout on a measured course (sometimes I’ll do it on a 6 mile outer loop of forest park), and track your combined distance for the workout (including rest), you’ll often be surprised and how fast your overall pace is even though you may be doing very slow pace on your rest segment. Last time I ran this workout with Brad Chronister we hit one of our miles in 5:25 even with a minute of slow jogging in the middle. And we averaged 5:50’s for the 6 mile loop.