INTERVALS, FARTLEKS, AND TEMPO WORKOUTS
Heading out for a run or walk can be as simple as you want it to. Head out the door, progress at a pace that feels comfortable, and you’re pretty much set. The beauty of the sport is often it’s simplicity. But adding a little spice to your weekly workout regime doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s a summary of THREE different kinds of workouts you can do each week. IMPORTANT: Please remember, you shouldn’t do more than ONE of these workouts in a given week. In other words, you can do your regular runs and walks each week and usually ONE longer run or walk, but only one of these kinds of workouts each week.
These workouts are usually defined by shorter, faster, and more intense efforts interspersed with defined breaks in between each one. They can be done anywhere, but tracks are a common location. Examples include 200 meters fast pace and 2 minutes recovery repeated anywhere from 5-20 times. They can be longer or shorter, but usually they are between 1 mile long or 100 meters long.
Fartlek is a Swedish Term for speed play. It is different from an interval in that it does not involve pronounced break periods in between each faster period. It is a continuous movement workout where you “play” with your speed. You can go faster for 2 minutes and then slower for 1 minute and then go faster for 3 minutes and then slower for 1 minute. The idea is you’re never really stopping like an interval workout. These are often done as “ladders” such as 1 min. fast and 1 min slower, 2 min. fast, 1 min. slower, 3 min. fast, 1 min. slower. 4 min. fast 1 min. slower. And then all the way back down…3 fast, 2 fast, 1 fast with the same breaks. Have fun with these because you can do them however you like. The rest periods can change as can the fast periods!
Tempo runs and walks are kind of a race simulation. They aren’t quite meant as a race pace workout, but they are defined by focusing on a SUSTAINED and increasing pace and effort. They should always be defined by an adequate warm up period and a cool down period. Example: 40 minute total workout. Start with a 10 minute jog at 60% maximum pace to warm up and after 10 minutes start to increase your speed from 60% to 70% and then increase your speed by a 5% every 5 minutes until you get to 90% and hold that for about 10 minutes and then revert back to 60% for a 10 minute cool down. So that workout would have a 10 minute warm up, a 30 minute “workout” period, and a 10 minute cool down for a total of 40 minutes. These workouts can be anywhere from 25 minutes up to 2-3 hours, depending on your goal distance!
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