Who the Hell Came Up With Fartleks?

Fartlek. Tell me that’s not the worst word in the world. Worse than kummerspeck, which I actually love saying. However, while the latter is not an accepted word in the English language, the former is. To my dismay.

Another bark in the kennel.

I first heard it from my triathlon trainer years ago. I thought perhaps she was either having an episode of Tourette’s or was discussing the fact she’d had too much sauerkraut with her brats (this was Wisconsin). Nope. For those of you who don’t know, fartleks are short speed intervals.

I had become a little frustrated with my C25K intervals. The new meds, PMS and other things were making it hard for me to concentrate and wrecking my endurance. The week before I could run two intervals of ten minutes. Now I can barely run one of ten without wheezing. It was stressing me out a lot, which it shouldn’t have been because running is one of the things that’s supposed to make me relax and feel good about the world. I do it because it makes me feel strong and sweat, not because I should be on a timetable, which was what I was worrying about.

No kidding.

So now I’m doing my own thing. Instead of using a program, I came up with a running playlist. The first five minutes are warmup, the next ten minutes are jogging (if I make it ten, great. If I have to stop at eight or five, also fine). Then five minutes of walking, then intervals of 1 – 3 minutes running or sprinting broken up by intervals of walking. The shorter intervals, I fly through. One minute = between 6.0 and 6.5 mph, 2 minutes = between 5.0 and 5.5 mph, anything else is 4.5 mph. It works so far, I keep my speed and my endurance up a bit and I sweat like a mofo. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to go longer but for now I’m happy where I am.

We said “SMILE,” not “horrible rictus.”

Each of the songs is timed to my running or walking, so instead of looking at a timer or the distance meter, I just start and stop with the music. Here’s my current playlist, in case you’re interested (I know you aren’t but let’s make believe for today, shall we?)

  1. Title and Registration – Death Cab for Cutie
  2. Swing Low – The Gossip
  3. Ready Steady Go – L’Arc en Ciel
  4. What’s Up People? – Maximum the Hormone
  5. again – YUI
  6. Fighting in a Sack – The Shins
  7. Turn a Square – The Shins
  8. Spilt Needles, Alternate version – The Shins
  9. Walk on Water – David Byrne
  10. Zetsubou Billy – Maximum the Hormone
  11. Terrible Things – April Smith and the Great Picture Show
  12. Southern Comfort – The Gossip
  13. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
  14. The Cowboy Mambo – David Byrne
  15. Pumped Up Kicks (cover) – Miracles of Modern Science

Each song is a certain speed, which corresponds with my pace. The last three are slow for cool down and stretching purposes, and for making sure none of my values ends on a 9.

The most important thing is that I exercise, especially with my new medications. I’ve also been taking the Osteo Bi-Flex for my knees and they’ve gotten less crackly! And since I started doing mostly fartleks, my plantar fasciitis has gradually reduced to almost nothing. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy.  This way it’s fast and fun and I don’t stress out anymore. Except about that black helicopter I saw yesterday and the fact that it’s 80 degrees in the fitness center. What the fuck, people?


2 thoughts on “Who the Hell Came Up With Fartleks?

  1. I love the way you have a playlist set up exactly matched to how you exercise. Perhaps if I ever get really serious about creating and sticking to some routine I’ll try this out 🙂 Good on you for overcoming them obstacles!

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