My first run of 2012 (yesterday) also happened to be the first time I’ve incorporated speed training into my schedule in a long, long time. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it! I usually settle into an extremely easy pace of about 6:45/km and stick with it for the entirety of my run. But the schedule called for fartleks and I could do nothing but obey. The training program I worked from to create my schedule was pretty open about the speed training; they gave a distance and only stipulated that the first and last kilometers were for easy warm-up and cool-down. Other than that, I had free rein. I decided on an easy repetitive interval of 30 seconds at level 8ish speed and 1:30 at regular easy pace, which for me is between 6:30/km and 6:50.
Thankfully I’ve held on to my ability to mark time fairly well, because trying to check my watch in the light of my headlight proved pretty challenging. I settled into the intervals very easily and I just loved the entire run! I’d forgotten what it feels like to be out of breath while running! I only huff and puff when running some hills at my easy pace, which I guess is why they call it easy. Having to work a little harder to breathe was actually kind of refreshing! It’s a lot easier to zone out of the present when running easy, and I actually enjoyed being able to only focus on getting enough air and feeling the cold morning around me.
In fact, I think I actually sped up as the workout progressed, making my speed bursts faster and longer and my recovery pace settled at something more like 6:20/km. I probably should have stuck with my original pacing, because I’ve got a tight hamstring that acts up when I push too hard, but it felt right in the moment so I’m happy.
I guess what I’m saying here is that I had a very good first run for 2012. I think this is a good omen. I’m looking forward to working in more fartlek training in the coming months. Hope everyone else started off the year with a bang as well!