This weeks fartlek friday is one of my favorite general fitness and/or half marathon workouts. I call it the 'Kenyan Standard' because it seems every time I read a training log from a Kenyan or someone who has been training in Kenya or read an article about someones training in kenyan they invariable at some point do this fartlek or something very close.
This fartlek is the definition of simple but don't mistake that for easy. When you get to where you can knock this one out and just keep your training rolling like it was just another normal workout you are getting into mean shape.
What it is 1 hour, give or take of 1min hard, 1 min steady, which I would say is on the quick end of your normal training pace or a bit quicker. This means you are going to do 30 mins of hard running and with full one minute recoveries a strong runner will often end up running 5k pace or even faster for those one minute reps, particularly if you do a session like this regularly. This builds enormous muscular endurance. If your not sure why you need that or what its impact on your racing is I want you to think of high level 10k or half marathon you have scene or read about where the big guns drop some crazy fast last mile. I'm not talking about the flying last lap, though that is part of it too, but I'm talking about someone dropping a 4:20 for the 13th mile of a half marathon. To have that pop when you are TIRED is to have max muscular endurance.
Because the rests are run relatively quickly you also are going to have a pretty quick pace and by extension get in a moderate long tempo as well. Based on how I have run 52 to 54 mins for 10 miles like this on flat course I can imagine that some of the top guys could cover close to 20k in a session like this, which would be a 4:50 mile average.
Now you don't need to be that fast to take advantage of this session but you had best be used to long hard workouts. If your normal workout is 12x400 and you go out and jump into a session like this and you will wish your mama never met your father the next morning!
This session is for the endurance minded athlete it works great as a half marathon workout as an endurance bent 10k workout or as a workout to maintain general fitness during marathon training.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.