Year-Round Workout #1: Fartlek
- 6:00 – 5:00 – 4:00 – 3:00 – 2:00 – 1:00 fartlek: At ZAP, we refer to this workout as a descending tempo effort.
- Run the opening interval (6:00) at roughly anaerobic threshold effort, or a hair faster than current half marathon race fitness, and then move into each successive interval a hair quicker from there.
- The 5:00 should be a touch (3 to 5 seconds per mile) faster than the 6:00; the 4:00 a bit quicker than the 5:00 interval, etc.
- The recovery between the intervals is half the time of the piece just run. For example, after the 6:00 interval, take a 3:00 easy jog; after the 5:00 interval, take a 2:30 recovery, and so on.
- Early season execution of the 6-5-4-3-2-1 fartlek: Keep the pick-ups and the recovery fairly similar. The 6:00 piece should be run at roughly 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than current half marathon rhythm. For highly trained folks this is approximately 10 seconds per mile slower than anaerobic threshold pace. The recovery should be 45 to 50 seconds per mile slower than the 6:00 surge.
- After the 3:00 recovery float, run the 5:00 piece 5 to 10 seconds per mile faster than the 6:00, and keep the recovery the same.
- After the 5:00 interval and 2:30 recovery, the 4:00 pick-up should be another 5 or more seconds faster than you ran the 5:00 section, or roughly anaerobic threshold tempo.
- Each successive piece should continue to be a touch faster even as the recovery becomes shorter.
Later in the season, as you get closer to your goal races, execution of the same session involves more specificity and easier recovery. In short, look to begin the workout (the 6:00 piece) roughly 10 seconds per mile faster than the way it was executed earlier in the year.
You should be running at or a little quicker than 10K pace by the 4:00 piece later in the season. As each successive piece gets 5 to 10 seconds per mile quicker, the recovery should become slower. Target your recovery between 1:20 and 1:30 per mile slower than your opening tempo, and you may slow that rhythm as the intervals get shorter and exponentially quicker.