I was all set for a relaxing morning around the house and a nice interval run at the gym, but a longtime friend called me up and asked if he could come over. Of course I said yes and he came by and was here for a couple of hours. Some issues had come up and I was trying to help him out as best I could.
When he left, it was about 8:30, and the free movie was slated to start at 10. I usually give myself 15-20 minutes minimum to get to the gym and sign in the girls so I knew The Interval was out of the question but I really didn't want to miss my run, even if it wasn't really my own doing.
So I left for the gym anyway, was about five minutes out and realized I'd forgotten my shoes (I'm a scatterbrain sometimes), went back home and then went back on my way. I got the girls signed into the kids club at about 9:10 so by the time I got on the treadmill, I had about 30 minutes.
I had been prepared for this, so it wasn't a surprise. I had two options: run for the entire 30 minutes at around the same pace and get in about three miles or run some sort of intervals and try to maximize my time. I chose the latter because I felt it was the best thing to do in such a short time. I like to run 3-4 mile runs outside and if I'm on the treadmill I figure why not do something on it that I can't do on the street.
It turned out to be mostly a fartlek I suppose. I walked for 3 minutes, 30 seconds, then ran at a 5.5 until the 8-minute mark. Then, for two minutes I ran at an 8.0 (which is a 7:30 mile per minute pace, way faster than I normally run) and then at the 10-minute mark, went back down to 5.5. Essentially, I ran four minutes at 5.5 and two minutes at 8.0. My heart rate climbed and climbed every time I went to 8.0. During the first session, it got into the low 170s and went down into the 150s once I slowed down. By the end, the last 2-minute sprint, my HR climbed to 189.
I hit the wall a little bit on that last sprint but felt good afterward. It's nice to run like that because it helps you get used to running at faster speeds. As I said, I don't normally run at 7:30 pace. That would be a sub-50:00 10K, and my 10K PR is 2:55 north of that. Since I don't run that fast, though, it was good to kind of feel what it's like to keep up a sustained faster speed, even if it's for two minutes.
And this type of run - a fartlek - can be applied to anyone at any level. If you aren't a long-distance runner and you run at about a 5.5 or 6.0 at max speed (6.0 would be 10:00 minutes per mile), you could have a low of 4.0 or 4.5 and a high of 5.8 or 6.0 or maybe even a 6.5, just depends on what you could handle. Or if you normally fast, you can have a low of 6.5 and a max of 9.5 or 10.0, which is really fast!
It's just another type of run that you can use in your training arsenal. It's nice to run 3-4 miles on a straight shot, but if you mix it up and run a fartlek, an interval and a regular run in a span of a few days, you are really making the most of your mid-week runs.
Oh yeah, I did make it to the movies. It was packed but we got a good seat anyway, and we enjoyed it. Lunch at home (with ice cream for dessert) and a nice two-hour nap for me and the girls... pretty much a great day.