Focusing on the quality of your running workout brings unquestionable benefits to your speed and your overall endurance. The specific work I’m proposing today stems from research at the University of Copenhagen where they divided runners of equal ability into two groups: the first continued to train by doing medium or long workouts, and the second included 3 fartlek sessions structured in a very particular way in their training week.
The fartlek 30-20-10
After a warm-up, the training for the first 4 weeks consists of running 30″ at an easy pace, 20″ at a medium pace, and 10″ with full-speed sprints, repeating the pattern 4 times and inserting at the end of the 4 repetitions, 2′ of slow to recover. All to be repeated 3 times. I’ll give you a diagram:
[(30″ slow + 20″ medium + 10″ sprint) x4 + 2′ slow] x3
It’s 18 minutes of running with (obvious) low mileage.
Over the next 3 weeks, the total repetitions became 4, bringing the duration to 24 minutes.
At the end of the 7-week study, all members of the group that incorporated within their workouts saw an improvement in their CO2max values and times over 1,500 m and 5K. In addition to this, the fartlek prepared runners for the inevitable changes in pace that characterize any run.
I’d say it’s worth a try, wouldn’t you?! ;)