What the F (artlek!)
Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning “speed play”. When during a session in any
discipline, some fartlek work serves many purposes. They can be listed as:
1) A go as you feel speedwork session:
The common method of increasing speed in the long term is to perform intervals
at a set distance and/or speed or both. While this may work, it sometimes can
be a detrimental method if the athlete is undergoing fatigue, injury, un-inspiration or plateau.
Sometimes, it can be a break in the normal routine to go out on a run, cycle,
etc. and put the prescribed workout on the back burner. As you warm up, pick
a point up ahead on the trail or road, then just “think floating” focusing from a bio mechanical aspect (such as leg turnover, solid holding of the water etc.)
and increase those thoughts until you get to that point. Please don’t look at the cyclometer or the Garmin. Instead, let yourself gradually get back to a bit
“easier” pace for a bit. Notice I wrote easier, not slower, etc. By doing this you will actually train your mind and body to recover at just slightly above what was once a recovery pace for you.
Once again, repeat the above process and put into your mind maybe some dif-
ferent bio mechanical input. (Up right body, strength coming from my mid-section, etc) Increase the effort you put into it while maintaining the “floating” phrase. Now when you get to the designated point you picked out, you may have noticed that the increased awareness was that you went a bit faster, yet it seemed that you did not struggle/fight as much as before.
2) The great thing about
This is that although you may not have wanted to do the written session, you’ve taken the opportunity to increase mind/body aware- ness, work on form and technique, and have a bit of effort put in. Still a structured session without structure (if that makes sense) This is much better than calling the session and ultimately gives you more empowerment. Although I don’t advocate performing this every workout, it can come in mighty handy on those days when you have a full day at work or trying to bump out of
3) Of course, this can be used in any discipline. It especially works well when
you feel as if you’re not making much progression. Mindfulness at its finest!
Keep Rockin!! – Jake Brindle