Fartleking in the Park

So … I want to get faster.


Okay, I should be more specific.

I want to be a faster runner. I want to have the agility of a quick rabbit, the grace of an antelope and the power of a hungry cheetah. Unfortunately, most of the times I have the agility of a buffalo, the grace of rhino in a china shop and the power of a mama grizzly.

Yes, I just compared myself to a mama grizzly.

But, to my defense, do you ever want to run into a mama grizzly with two suckling cubs? Thought so … soooooo … maybe I want that power instead of a hungry cheetah? But, then again cheetahs are still faster.


My point is I don’t feel FAST enough, especially as I am working towards my goal of a sub-two half at Nebo. There are many reasons why I don’t feel fast enough right now. One, I’ve ran two marathons and a back-to-back half marathon five hours apart from each other (I can count that as a marathon, right?). And, I also have Big Cottonwood coming up as well.

Marathons take a lot out of me. I really mean … A LOT. I love training for marathons. That’s fun. But, then once tapering comes along and you run the actual marathon … I do kinda turn into a mama grizzly of sorts. Which makes sense now.

But, then the next couple of weeks happen and I’m spent. It’s hard for me to get back into a rhythm of running, working out and … well … being normal (then again I don’t think I’ve never been deemed “normal” before?). Marathons are difficult for a reason.

And, partly because of that I’ve decided not to run another one for the foreseeable fortune after Big Cottonwood. I took a year off after my first three and I kinda feel like doing the same for 2015. Next year I just want to focus on SPEED (running speed that is, just to clarify).

But, I am also giving my EVERYTHING now to get my sub-two at Nebo. I’m not NOT going to try to get that goal, I’m going to give it everything I have. I’ve got five weeks until Nebo. I can do this.

One thing I’ve been doing with my running friends and through the Utah Fartlek Society that I created a few weeks ago to help keep my training on track is by doing more speed work. Or namely, fartleking.

So every Wednesday at 7:30pm whoever wants to join the group we fartlek in Liberty Park. We do at least two laps of fartleking and either a warmup or cooldown lap. It’s great training, especially on the relatively flat course at Liberty Park. It just makes running down a canyon feel that much easier.

But, what we usually do is run for a quarter mile, walk about a tenth of mile, sprint for a quarter mile and then walk a tenth of a mile and then sprint again for a quarter mile and repeat that. I’m probably a tad off on my distance. But, the goal of fartleking is to do a mixture of running and sprinting based on the runners’ ability and decision.

During last night’s fartleking I was starkly reminded how much I need to get back into half marathon shape. I’ve been relying too much on my marathon shuffle. So last night I really focused on bringing up my knees and tapping into my inner-gazelle. While my legs were shot, it did help a lot.

My goal the next few weeks is to really focus on my form. I need to be deliberate with my form and pace. I need to kick it up more like a Rockette. I’ve found that when I do that I actually get less tired and it saves my feet.

It amazes me the difference between running marathons and half marathons. I hate it. I wish it was an easier transition for me to go from one race to another flawless. But, that’s not my reality and I am okay with that.

The goal is still to a sub-two and I feel even if I don’t get it at Nebo, I still have a couple great races in October where I can. The key is to keep trying until you get where you want to, right? RIGHT!



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