This week I have mostly been Fartleking.
You’re sniggering like a naughty school-kid aren’t you?
Come on, it’s such a funny word, Fartlek, but I can assure you, speaking now from experience, that it’s a far from funny new part of my marathon training plan.
It’s absolutely nothing to do with the unexpected gas emissions mentioned in previous blogs, nor is it a mini fart. So you can stop that silly giggling now.
The word means "speed play" in Swedish, and is a training method blending continuous training with interval training.
What that actually means for me is that I can no longer plod along at my snail’s pace for the whole run. I now have to add in faster sections, and, wait for it, HILL WORK!
Now, why on earth we need a Swedish word when we have many good English words that would do I have no idea.
Perhaps it was a cunning plan to use a word no-one would understand so that no-one was put off having a go.
To be honest I can think of many different names to describe this new regime. For example, how about Hell? That’s a fantastically descriptive one, straight to the point and short enough, yet conveys incredibly well what runners should expect from their fartlek session.
It’s definitely my own personal idea of Hell.
I may have mentioned oooh maybe just a couple of times, how much I hate hills. I loath even walking up them, so when my running chum Gill offered to coach me on my first session you can imagine my barely contained delight.
I spent the whole morning trying to think of a plausible excuse to get out of it, but I know Gill and she won’t fall for any old rubbish. I think she would even have a scathing put down for me wussing out if all my limbs were fully cast in plaster!
I decided to prepare for her torture with a bit of practice before hand, so Ros and I added some sprinting to the end of our 5 mile loop on Sunday.
It’s our favourite route, round Okeover and through some really pretty countryside, before heading back into town along the road for the final mile.
The last section has street lights, so it’s perfect to do some speeding up sections.
We decided to have a go at sprinting two lights then walking two.
It certainly got both our heart rates up but was great fun, in a ‘red faced dripping with sweat’ sort of way.
That little fartlek I enjoyed. But Gill wanted to add hill-reps too.
So it was with some trepidation that I met her last night at the foot of Derby Hill. She promised me the session would be, and I quote: “A shorter run than one of the 6 milers you're doing but oh so much more fun!”
It ended up being 6.25 miles and absolute torture, but, and it’s a big but, I really enjoyed the challenge.
Ok, so at certain points I think she was slightly concerned for my health.
She even asked me where Ashbourne’s newly installed public access defib machines were. What’s more worrying is that I showed her and explained how they worked, in between my gasps for air. I figured it was a worthwhile insurance policy for the night!
It didn’t stop the torture though. Oh no, she is a cruel task-mistress, but it brings out the fighter in me.
If she said I only had to make it to the second lamp-post then I would damn well make it to the third. Sad thing is, I did, and then she made me run back down and do it again. And again. Each hill at least three times and occasionally four.
On the last hill (which for those of you who know Ashbourne is the hill up Belle Vue from Mayfield Road) I swear I was almost horizontal as I reached the top.
For some reason I bend further and further down like a little old lady when I am knackered and out of breath. It’s a bad habit, and means I struggle even more to breathe, but I think it’s my body’s way of making sure it doesn’t have far to fall when it finally gives up on me and I collapse in a gibbering wreck.
But I managed it.
Today my hamstrings ache, my butt aches, my calf muscles ache, everything feels a bit like it’s been battered by the 55 mph winds we had last week. But I’m smiling, because I did it, and I honestly didn’t think I could!