These are comfortable runs. Chatting with who you’re with and getting out most of your sentence without needing a breath. This builds your base fitness, your aerobic capacity.
A level of high intensively training revolving around reps of fast/hard effort with a full recovery between sessions. This leads to an increase in both cardio efficiency and also a tolerance to the lactic acid build-up. Improving performance, speed and endurance.
Let’s get over the name first. It’s fartlek, not fart leg, and it’s Swedish for ‘speed play’. The session sounds similar to interval training, but it revolves around a continuous run. This improves your strength and endurance, helps with mental agility when you’re running tired and is good to use in a race when you’re overtaking or getting to that finish line.
There are a few variants of these, either as intervals or as part of a longer run. Use your cool down time to really reduce your breathing and heart rate – ready to go again. This increases stamina and strengthens muscles.
These sessions put you on the stage of the elites! Some may grumble at track sessions but the use of the track lets you gauge improvements over a constant and measured area. These sessions are usually demanding, and are great for speed work. Make sure you warm up properly prior to attacking!
Pyramid (or ‘Ladder’)
This gradually increases your sessions distance, with a fixed rest between. Beginning at 200m, then 400m, 600m, 800m and 1200m, then reducing at the same level – thus forming a pyramid. Each rest period between should be the same – usually 100m. The reason this works best on a track is that you’ve the distances marked out and it’s an even flat surface.
Another odd named session you may hear in the Road Running circles. In theory this session works around an 800 metre run over 10 intervals, with a slow jog between each one. It’s long enough to keep up your effort, but then not too far to risk burn out over the course of the session.
The idea here is to run at a continuous high speed (your lactate threshold intensity) for the duration of the event. To put that simply, run at the fastest pace you can maintain for the set period. This serves to eventually increase that speed over the set time, or to increase the time at the set speed.
Going out at an easy pace, comfortably adding some mileage to your training without the intensity of any of the other sessions. Best practice is to add this into your schedule on the day following a hard workout session. This works well to prevent stiffness or tight muscles taking hold and presenting problems into your next session. Use your recovery wisely – make sure you don’t rush it.