Training: Fartleks & How to Maximise Your Running Training

The Training

Now this was a lesson in the mantra ‘Listen To Your Body’! After Tuesday night’s track session, my legs were feeling a little tired as I stepped out of the car to join our Wednesday night club session. As we warmed up for a couple of km they were still feeling heavy. By the time we’d run 7k’s worth of sprint/jog, sprint/jog fartleks they felt like lumps of lead! Felt alright this morning though so no harm done…

The training itself was exactly 9km, including warm up and warm down and lasted precisely 44:07 (thanks Garmin!)

Two Things I Realised

There were two interesting things that I noticed last night on how to maximise a training session:

1) Include some horrible hills

Sprint up them, as fast as you can. Don’t think about the next one. So I guess it was a fartlek hills session (Swanage is a hilly place1)

2) Get Competitive

In a nice way. From personal experience even though I think I’m pushing myself as hard as I can when doing a solo speed/hill session, I’m usually not. I know this because when doing a group session I run much faster (to keep up), much harder (I’m not the one choosing the hills) and for much longer (no chance of ducking home early).

The moral of the story? Running clubs are great – join one!

Next Training:

An easy-verging-on-tempo run tonight after two evenings of speed work in a row! Then off to Cornwall for a weekend’s relaxing (spelt ‘running’!)

Training: Hill Repeats (aka lung destoyers!)

Oh. My. God. I have never felt so lung-achingly, leg wobblingly, head-spinningly exhausted as I did after last night’s hill session!

It went like this:

As usual the club (Purbeck Runners) met outside The Crows Nest pub in Swanage. Such a sight to see 40-50 hi-vis jacketed people gathered on the corner, before the various groups went their separate ways!

Our hill session group ran for 10 minutes to warm up, before gathering at the foot of a quiet residential street for the main session. The chosen hill has a medium incline and is approximately 150 metres long, which appears easy at the beginning of the hour, but soon turns tricky.

Hill repeats on Bay Crescent

The scene of my pain!

Basically, we ran up the hill as fast as we could twenty times. However the 20 lengths were divided (as far as I could tell!) in to 4 sets of differing lengths. For five repeats we’d sprint halfway up the hill. The next five it would be all the way to the top, the next two thirds of the way up, then all the way to the top again. Between each length was a 1 minute ‘rest’ as we walked/jogged back down to the bottom of the hill.

I can tell you, for the first 1-10 runs I was confidently sprinting each repeat at around 90% effort. But by the 15th repeat my breath was catching, my ears had blown (they do that when I’m breathing hard!) and my legs were getting a bit shaky. By repeat number 19, I could barely breathe or move my legs, but in one final effort I forced myself up to the top of the hill, as fast as my now near-useless legs would take me.

After that 2oth was done we warmed down and it took me a good ten minutes to get my breath back – but boy did the beer in the pub afterwards taste good ; )

When it hurts that much it must be doing you some good!