The first time I heard the term Fartlek I was a high school cross-country runner. As you can probably imagine, the term elicited a few chuckles from the rag-tag bunch that made up our team that year. I remember vividly when Coach Clay told us it meant "speed play" in Swedish. I also remember it breaking up the monotony of our usual 3-5 mile run. Basically all you are doing during a Fartlek run is incorporating periodic bursts of speed into your run lasting anywhere from 30 seconds on up. Usually I pick a point of reference up ahead on the road or the trail and run hard to that point. This is followed by some slow jogging.
Today I only felt like running 3-4 miles or so. However, I also wanted to incorporate some Fartleks into my run through the woods. I think Fartlek (speed play with the emphasis on play) is the appropriate term for this kind of running; especially on the trails. I enjoyed flying through the woods with a reckless abandon. It felt great to revisit the increased stride turnover rate that has been missing from my running lately. I am hoping this will be a nice bridge into a bit of interval and speed training this summer. For the time being, I will be content with joyfully bounding through the trails like a carefree kid.
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