Okay, now that I got that bit of a humor that would make any 12-year-old boy proud, I need to tell you about today's run. Today was Week 1, Day 2 of my 12-week long path to hell otherwise known as my half-marathon training regimen. The program I'm following had me fartlek for two miles today.
According to my book running book I've invested in, a fartlek is "a few bursts of speed included within your normal endurance run." So for instance you are running like you always do but every now and then you speed up. So if there is a street corner you are approaching, you can run fast towards it, then go back down to normal speed, run to a certain house or building or another landmark, back down to normal speed, etc.
This is a sort of interval training, when it all comes down to it. I suppose the only difference is that you don't go down to a walk like you do with intervals, you just run slow and run fast, as opposed to walk, run slow and run fast (and sprint sometimes too). But a fartlek run can be shorter in time because you are working a little harder and thus can finish a little quicker.
I had originally thought about doing intervals but I the plan only called for three miles today so I didn't really bother with the interval run since it's closer to four and I'm all for shaving miles... I mean, sticking to the plan. So instead, I fartleked (I'm pretty sure it can be used as a verb).
Here's what I did: I walked for about a minute or so after warming up a bit on the bike. I started at a 5.5 and did that until minute three. Then I raised it up to 7.5 for three minutes, back down to 5.5 for two, up to 7.5 for three, back to 5.5 for two, then raised it to 7.5 for four minutes and alternated until I got to three miles. It took a little under 30 minutes, and it felt great. I felt so in control and felt in a great rhythm that I didn't want to stop, I wanted to keep running. But I have a plan and need to stick to it so I grudgingly went down to 3.7 to walk a cool-down portion.
I was encouraged by the second part of the section on fartleking. The author recommends 4-8 bursts of 2 minutes each with 2 minutes of slow running recovery in between. I must have read that section but I don't recall it specifically but I had good instincts apparently in figuring out a good way to fartlek.
Of course, the bad thing is that I don't have any more fartlek runs scheduled. I have variations of tempo runs and intervals the rest of the way. Still, it doesn't mean I can't throw in a fartlek run every now and then. It was really enjoyable and something I'd do again.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I weighed in even though I figured that was a bad idea. I checked in post-workout at 187.5, so I'm guessing I'm around 188 or so, which is freakin' fantastic because it's under 190, where I was at the last time I weighed myself. Already this training regimen is kickstarting my metabolism and helping drive some weight loss. Awesome.