Whether you're training for a 10k or just jogging to burn fat, improve your running performance with the expert guide to Fartlek training
Ever wondered why you’re pounding the pavement, day in, day out, and struggling to spot your progression? Advice from Performance Coach Kim Ingleby how to run faster, go further and feel fitter in your running.
‘Lots of women make the mistake of going out for a run and they maintain the same pace throughout, then wonder why they’re not getting any faster or toning up as quick as they’d like to. No one is ever doing it wrong. They just need to fine turn their training to get better results,’ says Kim.
Kim puts her clients on a Fartlek training plan. Don’t confuse this with interval training, though, in which you'd stop for recovery.
‘Plan a 7km route, warm up, then pick a spot in the distance and increase your pace as you run towards it. Once you’ve reached it, slow down - but don’t stop - to recover.’
Then, still following your route, pick another spot when you feel ready and off you go again. Unlike interval training, which has a set structure (for example, one minute of running, 30 seconds of rest), the key to Fartlek training is to vary the distances and the pace.
Fuel yourself fit
If you’re trying Fartlek for the first time, you’d use the technique in the middle of a run for about 10 minutes. As you improve, build up to about 20 minutes of Fartlek training within your run. ‘Your session may be a shorter distance than your usual run but overall it will feel more intense and will help to increase your speed,’ says Kim.
If you’re a complete newbie to running you’ll need to do at least 4-6 weeks of walk, jog, walk, jog training. Kim advises, ‘You must get your base level of fitness up and gain strength in your legs or you’re more likely to get injured.’
Quality not quantity
Your body needs to be on top form for Fartlek training, in order to reach relatively high speeds. Therefore only introduce one session into your training per week. Any more and you won’t see the same gains.
‘If you’re training for a 10k, for example, you should do one long-distance steady run, one fartlek session and one easy run per week.’
Read ultra-runner Lizzy Hawkers' long distance running tips
Fartlek training works you at a higher energy level than if you were out on a regular jog. ‘It will raise your heart rate higher and give you a better metabolic gain so you’ll burn more fat - as long as you get the right nutrition and hydration.’
‘If you have lunch at 12-1pm and you’re running at 7pm that won’t suffice.’ Kim highlights the importance of a carbohydrate/protein snack like berries and nuts or yoghurt and fruit three hours before running.
‘Women don’t get enough protein. You’ve then got a 20-minute window after exercise to have a small protein snack that will repair your muscles quicker. Avoid sugar. Then within two hours have a proper meal and that will give you the best gains from your Fartlek training session.’
Nibble these top 10 snacks for runners
Kim recommends Fartlek training as it not only increases your performance, it will diversify your workout, keeping you motivated and stopping sessions feeling monotonous.
Increase your energy level with the best running tracks
The next step
Once a master, move on to Fartlek training sessions uphill. ‘Hill work really builds endurance and strength. It will build the strength in your leg and should activate your glutes.’
In the gym
‘A lot of people forget about the upper body and core strength. They think they just need to strengthen their legs. Everything links together: what happens on your right shoulder will affect your left leg, for example, so you need to be strong in your whole body.’ Kim suggests complementing your training with lunges, squats, press-ups, planks, and dorsal raises to strengthen the whole body.
Check out these workout moves to boost your running fitness
Posted: 04/11/2012 at 19:32
Like us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Other Hearst Magazines UK sites