Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Advice from an expert

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my father-in-law is a serious runner. Marathoner, at that. To tell you how good he is, just last month he placed first in his age group in a marathon in Idaho with a time of 3:56:12. Not bad for a 60 something guy!

So, I have a very accessible coach and have started involving him in my workout plans as well as soliciting his advice. His latest email suggested that I might want to try out some fartleks. (That is not to be confused with fartlets, which as we all know are little farts.)

Right now, my only flexible day is Saturday as far as varying my run, and I'd really like to see how much faster I can run my one mile. On the other hand, I know that eventually, I'll have to try to run two and then three miles at somewhat of a race pace and that a one mile time isn't that relevant to my current goal.

It's funny: I usually am self motivated and don't need to see incremental successes to keep on task, but in this case, I'm a bit obsessive about seeing my one mile time drop even though I'm not doing anything special to do so and have no real reason to do so.

My time would be better spent doing the fartleks (30 seconds all out running, walking until recovered, and repeating for 5 or 6 times) or just working on my endurance with a longer run.

But we all know that I don't do what's best for me or even logical, so, I do believe that on my Saturday run I will:

Walk down to my mile loop.
Run my mile as fast as I can.
Continue into a second mile, walking until I've recovered from the first mile.
Do my fartleks for the rest of the second mile.
Walk back home from the loop.

I'll make sure to let you all know if I survive...


joe said...

See, now I just need to get to the point where I can run 1.5mi. Then I can start doing fartleks! Which sound sooooooooooo fake. And funny.

Though right now I'm just aiming not to get shinsplints again.

Rusty said...

If you want, I can email you my excel spreadsheet with my ramp up walk/jog times. Unfortunately, I didn't keep track of my segment running at the beginning of my endeavor.

joe said...

That'd be dandy. I like excel sheets. Just make sure it's .xls? The stupid AF has a calculator for seeing if you pass their physical test, but it's .xlsx.

Rusty said...


Rusty said...

Here is the comment my father-in-law wanted to leave:

I think that you are progessing nicely! This coming Sat you might add some 30 seconds speed fartleks. After a warmup of at least 10 mins try running hard for 30 seconds then stop and walk around and recover for a min and then repeat up to 5 times. This will really get your heart pumping and in the end you will feel better! After this continue your normal workout. You can also do them at the end of your normal Sat workout instead of during. If you do them at the end besure and walk for 3-5 mins to cool down and be relaxed.

Keep up the good work!

joe said...

Does he have advice for beginning runners who really don't want to get shinsplints like they did last time they went running?

Currently I'm basically doing this:

With more like a minute of warmup before I start walking.

Rusty said...

That routine looks a bit like the couch to 5k over at coolrunning.com. I went from no running to where I'm at by gradually increasing my running time by 30 second increments.

I've had shin splints before and didn't get them this time, which I attribute to starting slowly.

There are some really good beginner resources over at runnersworld.com.

Rusty said...


Here's a good article on shin splints!