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Fartleks & Marathon Training

Posted by George Parker on
Fartleks & Marathon Training

Are you including fartleks in your marathon training? If not, you might find they help you dial-in your marathon pace and feel at ease.



Good afternoon runners. Today I want to talk about the the fartlek. The workout, the fartlek. Any particular reason I want to talk about is that I am in the middle of a marathon training block. And I have a great coach. And I've used his coach a couple times now for marathon training, he helped me break three hours the first time and run a 258 marathon at the California international marathon. And he helped me train well and run a 302 marathon at the Boston Marathon, which wasn't under three hours, but I consider it one of my best performances because of I just held up the courses in a heart and that was the day. And when I went back, and was thinking about some of the training that we did, I realized that I didn't ever really run much work at my goal marathon pace. So for a three hour marathon like 651 pace, instead, most of my work would happen either below that pace, or slightly above that piece. And in particular, one of the workouts that we would do a lot and build up to, you know, an hour worth of effort here would be a fartlek workout where, for instance, you would run three minutes at a 615 pace, and two minutes, slightly, so slow in your marathon pace, maybe like 705 710 and started 25 minutes, go to 35 minutes, you know, 4045 minutes up to an hour. In the process of doing that, you may end up doing 10 miles of effort at the very high end. And the average pace for that workout would be right at your goal marathon pace 651. But you never ever actually ran at that pace, you either run faster or slower. And, you know, I never thought much about it. But I was texting with my coach because I'm in another training block today. And we're doing that same type of workout. And he said something that made a law hit clicked to me. He said, when you're doing the workout, and you're doing the two minute recovery segment, which is slightly slower than marathon pace, use it as a time to practice recovering a marathon pace. And the light bulb went off in my head because I realized that what that workouts doing is teaching you how to recover and stay relaxed at a marathon pace. And that becomes really valuable when you're running that pace for 26 miles when your body thinks that's a pace that you can relax and be comfortable at. And so one of the advantages of a fartlek at least how I'm running in this particular workout is you get the speed and so you get the turnover for the faster segment. But the slower segment, which is still near marathon pace is teaching your body how to be comfortable at that pace that you can hold for a long period of time. Maybe this is completely obvious, and most people knew this a long time ago took me many years to figure out exactly what's happening. But I think it's great. I for a long time I used to wonder where maybe it'd be better off to sprain 10 miles at my goal marathon pace. And there's probably a time for that. But I've had a lot of success doing actually not doing that. running an average pace that equals that number. But getting to that pace in different ways. Whether it be these fartleks or some kind of progression run. So be open to ideas. I'm always a huge fan of coaches. I could never be a coach. I don't think I don't think so. So I'm lucky that I have someone that helps me out and drops little nuggets of wisdom that helps even middle age wannabes get a little bit faster, every day. Best wishes on your running


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