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Run Training: I Spy A Fartlek

We all know mixing it up in life is a good thing. Try this "I Spy" inspired Fartlek workout to add some flavor to your speed session.

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We all know mixing it up in life is a good thing, and the same goes for training. This week’s training session take fartlek training and mixes it up so no interval is the same. This is a fun way to shake up the monotony of basic fartlek runs where every interval is the same length, or you do a standard ladder.

RELATED: Rediscovering the Freedom of a Fartlek

Training Session: I Spy A Fartlek

For this training session, you take on your surroundings and use the real world to help inform how long each interval should be, using the concept of the childhood game, “I Spy.”

For example, if you’re running in a neighborhood, you can use the numbers on mailboxes, houses, speed limit signs, and other road signs to tell you how long to do each subsequent interval.

The recovery intervals can either all be standardized, such as 30 seconds or one minute, or you can also use numbers you find to determine those as well.

After a warm up of a couple of miles, look to the first house or speed limit sign you see.

  • Let’s say you pass a house that’s 48 Pine Street.
  • Run 48 seconds at your hard-effort pace (VO2 max pace, for example).

When the interval is over, begin your recovery. Again, you might just choose that every recovery interval will be 45 seconds or so, or you can use the next number you see.

  • For our example, we will stick with consistent 45-second recoveries.
  • As you approach the last 15 seconds of the recovery, spot the next number on a mailbox, house, or street sign.
  • This time, you might see 110 Main Street.
  • When the recovery is over, immediately move into 110 seconds of hard effort.

Keep going for 8-15 intervals, depending on your fitness level, workout duration, and interval lengths.

What’s great about this on-the-fly workout creation is that you don’t know your upcoming intervals, so there’s no dread or worry. Every workout is different and it’s fun and engaging to be interactive with your surroundings.