Running Training Week 5

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Hi Runners – here we go into WEEK 5 of the running program…

Last week, we took a break from the intervals/hills/LSD to allow a week of “just running” (tempo pace) – and we heard from many of you about how much faster your pace had become from the beginning of your training. That is exactly why we’ve been doing the intervals and that’s why we’ll be focusing the week on a form of intervals that we call “Fartleks” (the word fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”).

Fartlek workouts are an unstructured form of intervals, where instead of running fast for a set period of time (such as 1-min, 2-min, etc) or distance (such as 400m, 1-mile, etc), we will “play” with our speed – running faster when we feel like it (pick it up to that next tree, or sprint to the top of this hill) – and running slower to recover (after the pickup and after the crest of that hill).

You might think of a Fartlek workout as a “tempo” run with a handful of intervals sprinkled in as the terrain and your motivation allows?

In my Fartlek workouts, I like to do a good 10-min warmup and then start with 2-3 “medium speed” intervals (7-ish on the RPE scale) – then progress to 2-3 “fast” Fartleks in the middle of my workout (8-ish RPE) – and then finish the workout with 2-3 “very fast” efforts (near sprints at 9-ish RPE, but keeping fast feet and good form). Cool down with another 10min of easy jogging.

  • remember “RPE” stands for Rating of Perceived Exertion and equates to your feeling of how difficult the intensity is on a scale of 1 (almost resting) to 10 (all-out).

This will end up giving you about 6-9 intervals of varying lengths, but the workout “feels” different than a structured interval session.

Do a Fartlek workout for EACH of your 3 primary runs this week – and if you have the time and motivation to workout on additional days, then do something OTHER than running.

We are 4 weeks away from our “race” on October 28 – so please send Shawn and Julie any questions?

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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