Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fartleks Have Nothing To Do With Farting

Sometimes it may seem as if runners are speaking a totally different language...and if you are not a runner or you are a newbie runner...things can get rather confusing. When I started training for my first half-marathon I was completely lost when it came to things like; tempo runs, intervals, and fartleks (did you just giggle? I do...every.damn.time.)

That's why I thought today it might be fun to feature a few of the terms that I find most important for newbies and non-runners to know- This way when you are stuck talking to a runner about running for hours on can kind of pretend you care about what they are talking about ;)

Fartlek- this is a type of  speed work where a runner alternates between running slow and sprinting. What I like about fartleks (besides their name) is that you can do them any way you want and they can be relatively easy to incorporate into your workout. For me I include fartleks in my run pretty frequently by running a bit faster of a pace from light post to light post or I will tell myself to run faster until I get to the next fire hydrant. It's a simple way to increase your speed and it's fun to say :)

Tempo Run- this is another type of speedwork, but it is much more structured. A tempo run begins with a warm up run at an easy pace and then you switch to a run at a level just slightly above your comfort zone. You should be breathing heavy and it should be difficult to carry on a conversation. A tempo run should always end with a cool down at your warm up pace.

Intervals- These are yet another type of speed work (my least favorite) which include short spurts of intense effort, followed by a longer bits of lower effort recovery running. This is different from a tempo workout because during your bouts of intense effort you are running well above your comfort zone, you are gasping for air, and literally counting down the seconds until you can stop. The most important part of running intervals is making sure that you truly allow your body the recovery time it needs to be ready for another round of torture :) I will often times do my interval workouts on the treadmill or a track since it's easier to keep track of how far/long for each interval.

Negative Splits- this is by far my most favorite term (and accomplishment during a run) Negative splits is when you run each mile a little faster than the one before. For example if you went out for a 4 mile run you would run your first mile in 8:45, second mile 8:30, third mile 8:15, and then your final mile at 8:00. You gradually get faster. I love nothing more than running negative splits. :)

Streaking- yes, this is another funny one...but don't worry it has nothing to do with being naked :) Streaking (in the running world) is when a runner runs every day for an extended period of time. I participated in the Runner's World Running Streak from Memorial Day to the 4th of July....and I have to say I wasn't a big fan. I like my rest days...and honestly with marathon training in the midst of it...I needed them as well. I most likely will not be participating in another streak any time soon.

Easy Run/Easy paced miles- I would say that this is the term that gets me the most dirty looks from people...or comments like " is running easy?"
An easy run is run at a conversational or easy pace. You should be able to comfortably talk (or sing along with your iPod...not that I do that) during an easy run. Most often this is used during longer runs (which again...I know aren't easy...but they are not meant to be run fast)

Hill Repeats- these have definitely been my nemesis during training. Many people have told me that the KC Marathon is a hilly course so I have made sure to include these in my workout. Hill Repeats are just what they sound run up a hill at a 5k pace (fast) and then jog or walk down it slowly and do it again :) These workouts are torture, but they do wonders for your speed, endurance, and confidence in hills!

Rest Days- these are exactly what they sound like. This is a day where you allow your body time to recover. It's important for your muscles to have time to repair themselves and they are vital in injury prevention. I make sure to have at least 1 true rest day each week and sometimes I even take 2 depending on how I feel.

I didn't even being to scratch the surface of all the running terms that are out there...but these are the ones that I use most if we are going to be friends, it is important you know them ;)

What's your favorite type of speed workout?
What running word makes you laugh the most?

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  1. Loved this! Nice job and your post title is hysterical!! #wowlinkup

  2. Heather, Inalways secretly laugh at the word fartlek, too. :) I love this post! I have a non-running friend who will comment on posts about my running workouts and say things like, "I have no idea what any of this means, but I hope it was good." I'll send her your way-ha! I like intervals the best; tempo runs are my nemesis, more so than hills. Great post! Thank you!

  3. Hahah love it! I often wonder if people understand what the heck I am talking about, but this is a good explanatory post so I will send confused friends your way :) I like fartleks as it allows me to "just run" without obsessing about pace. I tend to throw 5x1minute into one run per week for helping with my speed, I find it helps a lot

  4. I've found I gain the most speed in the quickest time frame doing hill repeats. Love fartleks though too! #wowlinkup =)

  5. :) Hill repeats.. I need to do Hill repeats...

    We have a 4 mile race coming up in August, and there are a couple MAJOR hills... I must get my butt outside and do more hills.

    JUST DO IT! Right?

    1. Easier said than done...especially with hill repeats!! I've been trying to work them in to at least 1 run per week...I make sure to end my run at the monster of all hills and then do hill repeats for a half a mile. I'm starting slow...but hoping to work my way up!! I keep waiting for it to get easier...but it doesn't. Hills are evil :)

  6. Super informative and hilarious read. Love your choice of images :) #wowlinkup

  7. Love this! I have been planning to do a post like this on my blog as well, you beat me to it!

    Fartlek is definitely the funniest word, and the most fun speed workout. I also love negative splits. And even though hill workouts are so tough I always feel good afterwards.

  8. The negative splits one is my favorite-so true! #wowlinkup Confessions of A Mother Runner

  9. What a great post! So many bloggers I follow use so many of these terms. Half the time I Google them, and the other half I just pretend I know what they mean. Now I officially know I was wrong each and everyone one of those time I didn't Google them lol Thanks for this great post! #wowlinkup

  10. Love this! I know I probably speak in "runner terms" way too often haha. Always good to refresh my mind and I needed to be reminded to rest. Was planning 6 miles this morning and woke up not feeling great and with some soreness in my back. I know I need to listen and rest...but it's so stinking hard. Agh!

  11. THANK YOU for breaking down these crazy terms b/c while I have been running since 2005 - I do not do a lot of races and well....the terms just drive me mad. I did not know what half of them meant. And TAPERING can you define that one for us too? #wowlinkup