Very important disclaimer

Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mona Fartleks Baby!!! *WoOt*

I don’t like random fartleks. Too easy to stop when tired. Too easy to call a short fartlek. Too easy to end the workout early. Random fartleks = too easy to fail.

That’s why I was so excited to see on my Marathon-trainingschedule program that there was a structured fartlek workout. In my training plan, this fartlek session is inserted every few weeks, and it is meant to be a timely fitness test on top of a regular speed workout. because it’s a timed session, you can gauge  your level of improvement by how far you actually ran, as compared to other sessions.

Here is what they look like.


Here is how to run them.

The Mona Fartlek is a workout conceived by Steve Moneghetti, 4 times Australian Olympic marathoner, and is a staple with Australian distance runners. It's a very appealing workout because of its simplicity and duration.

Basically it's 20 minutes of hard running and goes like this:

2x 90 seconds with 90 seconds recovery

4 x 60 seconds with 60 seconds recovery

4 x 30 seconds with 30 seconds recovery

4 x 15 seconds with 15 seconds recovery

The 90 seconds efforts are run at 5k-10k pace, however as the efforts get shorter the faster they should be run, so the last 15 seconds are flat out. The art of doing this session is not to take the recoveries too easy, so in effect this is almost a 20 minute tempo workout with hard efforts. And if done properly it serves as a great indicator of what you could do for 5k at that time.

Also it can be done anywhere, but try and avoid doing it on a hilly terrain as that would mess up your recoveries.

Be warned this is only a relatively short session but it's very intense. However after doing it for a few weeks it will become easier and the 5k and 10k times will drop. Enjoy!

Prior to the workout, be sure to have a 20 minute jog followed by strides and stretches, then commence the Fartleks.  

This is as hard as you want to make it. Coach says to try and jog between sets, but if you have to walk, then walk. Tonight I felt like I ran about 85% of my total effort because it was my first attempt at this workout, I wanted to be able to complete it. Now that I know what to expect I will push for 95% effort next time and see how I fare. It was still a very hard workout this evening, and I felt a little bit queasy at the end, so that is good, Right?

It felt absolutely fantastic to spin the legs over tho. I have always liked the feeling of running fast from time to time, because most of my runs are very consistent and controlled. Just getting out there and letting it all hang out is quite liberating, AND it makes you realize that your legs CAN spin over quickly without you falling down! (It feels like I could just fall down at times my legs almost feel out of control. I Love it!)

So, for future reference, I ran 3.58kms during this 20 minute session.

Other notes on this run:

  • I am still feeling a bit sick, but just a lingering dry cough that keeps me up at night, :o(
  • I ran in my Walmart Aquasocks. Fab! Rad! they were warm, dry and gave me great ground feedback!
  • It was above freezing so I ran in shorts.
  • I ran a back and forth on a 400 metre stretch of sidewalk that was relatively clear so I could push the effort without any big puddles, huge sections or icy patches to dodge!
  • image

All in all an A- for effort and execution but an A++ for FUN!


  1. Sorry Neil, you are so not ready for your May marathon. Maybe you should start training for Vancouver 2012.

  2. Structured fartleks? That is intriguing. I might just give it a try though I have to admit I love regular fartleks. It is like a game. I can imagine I am chasing an animal and slowing down now and then to check the tracks. Of course I would not know what to do once I caught up to my pray. Not much of a hunter, am I?

  3. That's some great work...and it is work!

    Get any funny looks while doing your thing?

  4. Great job Neil!!!!

  5. I LOVE that they had "enjoy" at then end of the explanation - that's the best line EVER!

    Nice work, Neil!! Those are not easy...but oh how rewarding at the end, eh? (love my Canadian lingo for you???:)).

  6. The more I use my Walmart water socks the more I like them. I prefer the one without the Velcro strap. You are right about the road feel the thin foam rubber is great and at 8$ they are the buy of the century.

  7. I love the back and forth fartleks. Makes them easy to count.,