“When you feel like you’re done…”

“…that’s the time to do another lap.”

And with those words from Coach, Megha and I wearily set off for another round of fartlek training.

Our ASICS Running Club Coach is quietly implacable in the face of our moaning and groaning.

Patiently, he lets us grumble away, and then sends us off for another lap of the park, or one more workout, or another set of planks.

Today, the humidity in Delhi was killer.

I didn’t check the humidity level at 5 o’clock this morning when I got up, but one of my running group said he’d had and that it was 95%.

Sure felt like it.

Crazy humidity.  Just crazy.

And yet we drilled and ran and did a fartlek work out and despite the weather, I think we all worked damn hard.

Despite its giggle-inducing name, “fartlek” – which is Swedish for “speed play” – is actually nothing more than periods of fast running interspersed with periods of slower running.

My group, for example, was told to do 6 rounds of the park, running fast(-ish) for 3/4 of the distance and then very slowly for the remaining quarter.  BUT, and Coach was at pains to point this out, the idea was not to stop at all, however tired we felt.  People asked whether they could walk the slow, recovery part and we were told it’s better to run, however slowly.

And so that’s what we did.

I did 6 rounds without stopping once, and though I paused for a few moments before the extra lap Coach encouraged us to do, essentially the pattern of fast-slow-fast-slow-fast-slow remained unbroken.

And when I checked my pace on my Garmin afterwards, I actually ran the last 2 rounds faster, so goodness knows what was going on there.  Admittedly I ran the whole drill slowly, but all the same, I do feel pretty chuffed.

According to good ol’ Wikipedia, fartlek training – and I quote – can be effective in improving your speed and endurance.  Great.

The rains have turned our Tuesday venue into a bit of a jungle – all lovely and green – so we drilled and stretched on the track today.  #needsmust

On a personal note, the humidity was so high that my glasses kept steaming up, so I took them off, and ran “blind” as it were.  I could see, of course, enough not to fall over, but not enough to check my watch – so I simply didn’t fuss about time or pace, even though perhaps I should’ve.

All quite liberating and in keeping with something Coach said last week, about learning to free ourselves from constantly checking watches and Garmins and GPS’s.

A fun workout, and a very slight feeling of improvement.

Nothing dramatic, but the s-m-a-l-l-e-s-t feeling of perhaps making some progress.

And looks like some of my running girlfriends felt happy, too 🙂

Stretching was also all about team work today:

Our threesome (below) became a bit wobbly, if the truth be known!  And if ever there was proof that my middle name is Stiff & Inflexible, this is it… 🙁

And, as ever, our team photo.


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