“Fartlek Trail”

First Day of “Fartlek Trail”

I’ve used my new word a lot, telling others about this new technique I’m learning.  Most people ask whether I need to eat beans before I head out…  For those that have trained to compete in any sort of running race, however, they all know what it is.

In my reading last weekend, along with my coach’s instructions, I’ve learned that Fartlek (Swedish for Speed Play) is sort of interval training with more flexibility and built-in recovery.  It’s a lot more fun than intervals!  I’ve not run up any hills yet because my heart rate climbs too high.  But today I did!  I ran as fast as I could – specifically to get into anaerobic Heart Rate Zone.  With Fartlek trails though, I don’t JUST run up hills, I get to choose when I’m going to run.  Today, after each time of burning all the oxygen  in my muscles, I hiked until my heart rate dropped back into aerobic zone and then ran another burst.

I continued this way for the full session today, running down some hills as fast as was safe for me, or along the flats and even up more hills until each time, my legs felt so heavy I couldn’t run another step.  Always between the anaerobic bursts was time for recovery.

As I write this, I wonder how to build recovery into life.  We work or play so hard – every second of every day is packed with activity.  Much of it is good and may even be necessary.

But we feel guilty when we stop.  Because we’ve learned to live rest-deprived.

We don’t have time to think.  It’s scary to think of making changes if we ask the wrong (right) questions.

We’re made to need recovery.  Our brains reorganize while we sleep at night.  We need days off when we can disengage – from our smart phones, emails, jobs, activity…

Over the years Brad (my husband) and I have gotten better at recovery.  Both of us know that our morning time spent with Jesus is crucial to how we respond to people later in the day.  We also are pretty protective of our Fridays off, knowing the importance of filling our tanks.   We can call this “Fartlek Life”.  Getting adequate recovery between bursts of busy!

In response to my first Fartlek Trail, Jan (my coach) told me to pay attention to how I feel for the rest of the day and on the recovery effort tomorrow.  If I feel like this one fatigued me, that’s a good sign that I need to pull back on my next effort and take it down a notch.

So far so good!


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