What is fartlek training?
"Fartlek running involves varying your pace throughout your run,
alternating between fast segments and slow jogs. Unlike traditional
interval training that involves specific timed or measured segments,
fartleks are more unstructured. Work-rest intervals can be based on how
the body feels. With fartlek training, you can experiment with pace and
endurance, and to experience changes of pace. Many runners, especially
beginners, enjoy fartlek training because it involves speed work. But it
is more flexible and not as demanding as traditional interval training.
Another benefit of fartlek training is that it doesn't have to be done
on a track and can be done on all types of terrains -- roads, trails, or
even hills." - Christine Luff
I'm incorporating the principles of fartlek training exclusively in my comeback attempt. Unlike traditional fartlek training my workouts alternate between fast walking and slow jogging. Slow shuffling is probably a more accurate description but you have to start somewhere, right? The workouts are definitely unstructured. So far they have consisted of 80-90 minute walks with 1-3 minute jogs sprinkled in at random intervals based mainly on terrain. I am limiting my jogging to flat and smooth trails only. Uphill running, err, jogging, would strain my sacroiliac joint and the jarring generated from jogging downhill would cause irritation of my cervical nerves resulting in pain and/or numbness.
It's not a tradition way to train but I have to make modifications based on my limitations if I hope to have any chance of success. I've completed six workouts this month with mixed results. I've experienced increased back pain only once but my neck has bothered me after every workout except the first one. So far the pain has not been at a level to deter me from continuing. That could change at any time but for now it's full steam ahead.... in a slow, feeble, old man sort of way.
Hope to see some of you on the trails soon.