As you know I have a serious love/ hate relationship with running. I love it when I’m finished, but hate that I can never seem to run as fast or as far as everyone else. I tend to be prone also to injury, so feel sometimes that I am starting from scratch all over again, everytime. So after much trying of different types of running training, I now combine a number of methods that seem to keep me in the game, injury free, and motivate me. Fartlek being the main one.
Fartlek (meaning speed play) is the first. Similar to interval training, it was designed in Sweden by Gösta Holmér in 1937, he was the coach of a cross country running team who were not doing particularly well. Sessions should be performed at an intensity that causes the athlete to work at 60% to 80% of his or her maximum heart rate. This means (hopefully) that the body will not experience too much discomfort while exercising. An athlete should also include a good warm up at the beginning of the session, and a cool down at the end of the session, to improve performance, minimize post-workout muscle soreness, and most importantly for me; to decrease the chances of injury.. So hence it’s the model of choice for me. The “Fartlek” intervals can vary in length, and speed. When I’m starting off I’ll do a walk/jog interval, then if I’m feeling “in the groove” I’ll do slow run, fast run intervals. My ultimate aim is to decrease the number of walk/runs. Fartleks are a great option for people that run for their health because the fat burning portion makes it a very efficient exercise.
But still running by yourself can be quite lonely. I use to run with music, but after a particularly long injury break I started back running and simply forgot to put the music on. It is also safer for when I’m running on the road. I really envy the people who can run with other people. I just can’t. Firstly I’d be embarrassed as I run SO SLOWLY. And then I’d struggle to chat- and for anyone who knows me- seems impossible. So I just run and retreat inside my head. And it’s free. With money tight -a gym, or fitness classes are completely out of the question, so I strap on the runners and use some of the roads and tracks around my area. The Waterford Greenway is an amazing running/ walking/ cycling “way” that runs from Waterford to Dungarvan along the old route of the railway. it’s 46kms of safe running and we are lucky to have access to quite a few entry points. If that doesn’t get you out running or walking nothing will!
I do have a machine companion however, I’m one of those annoying people who share their exercise on social media. The main reason is for support, even if noone “likes” it, I still hope that there is support out there for my lonely feet slapping runs 3-4 times a week in my endless journey to increase my fitness and decrease my weight. Although over the last few years those priorities have changed in emphasis. My health, both mental and physical are more important to me now than ever. Too many friends have gone, too many people take their lives for granted. I’m determined not to be one of those. And sure I like the scenery.