Right up front I’d just like to say that, despite the title, this post does not have anything to do with pelvic floor muscles J
When I first began running I was just happy that I could actually run…1 km, then 5km, then 10km without stopping!! I didn’t really care how fast I was running until I entered my first fun run and that familiar competitive urge kicked in…not to win mind you. No, I’d never even entertain that notion…It was more like I was terrified that I’d finish dead last and my poor embarrassed kids would disown me!
After quite a lot of reading around the subject thanks to my addiction to running magazines and websites, I decided to try a Fartlek session. This is where, as you run along, you decide to torture yourself completely by choosing an object such as a tree, or light pole in the distance and try and run faster than you are currently running until you reach that object! It’s not sprinting…just opening up a little and increasing the pace. The distance can vary depending on how game you are feeling….I aimed for abut 200m or so at the beginning, increasing to about 500m now.
The first time I tried this it felt fantastic…I almost felt like a kid again to be stretching out and running faster…rather than my usual plodding!...that is until I finally reached my goal and slowed down again….I was sucking in that precious air so hard I thought my legs were going to burst!!
I have since worked my way up to doing 4 fartleks on my usual 5km running circuit. I do this fartlek session once a week in my training program. Sometime I wonder what the car drivers, on their mad rush to work in the morning think when they look at me over their juggled coffees, barely able to breath ….I wonder how far their fingers are away from dialing ‘000’on their iphones!
I really love doing this workout though. I love the feeling of running fast. I know that getting my heart rate up even higher, just for a little while has benefits for my fitness levels and my metabolism. I’m sure the sessions have paid off in that I know that I can run faster, at least for a shorter time. Sometimes I wonder if I keep increasing the number of fartleks, then I can string them all together and run really fast !! (OK, not really fast…but a bit faster anyway!).
There is no denying that they are hard work though! Sometimes I admit, I just lack the will power to complete them….and I find the best way for me, is to do them without thinking about it too much…because if I thought about it, I’d talk myself out of it!
I think these fartlek sessions should only be attempted once you have a solid base of running to prevent injury. Also a little word of warning…although I did say this post was not about my pelvic floor, I lied. running faster (especially down hill) seems to be a bit of a ‘trigger’ for my muscles to stop working!! I find it’s best to run protected ;)