Keeping Your Running Routine Fresh

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Last week was all about just showing up. Consistency. Routine. This week, I’m switching it up!

When you first start running, being consistent is key. It takes a while to form a habit (good or bad) so you need to commit. When I first started I committed to running 20 minutes, never taking more than a day off. From there I was able to add on more time and length as I grew stronger. Now I find myself running 5-7K almost 6 days a week and it’s time for a change.

After my Sunday run last week I had a session with a physiotherapist who basically told me I need to take more time off. Instead of running on auto-pilot 6 days a week he suggested doing intervals, yoga for runners on rest days, shorter recovery runs and longer runs. My goal is to eventually do a half marathon and by changing up my routine, I’ll get there quicker.

I decided to try my first speed run. A speed run is interval training. After a short warm up you do one minute fast, 1 minute recovery (brisk walk), and you do that on and off for about 30 minutes. I chose the “My first speed run” on the Nike App and a coach guides you through it. It only clocks the KM’s that you’re running, not your rest time. So at the end of my 27 min speed run I only technically ran 2.42K. But, it’s been my fastest time yet and I was SWEATING. It’s so easy to get caught up in collecting KM’s. We see that number go up on the app and think that more running is better, which is not necessarily true! Now I want to move on to a different kind of running and you have to promise you won’t laugh…

Let’s talk about fartlek. Yes, that’s right. FARTLEK. I first saw this word on my Nike Run App. My husband asked “What’s a fartlek run” and I said “I think Fartlek is a Swedish running coach”. I was wrong. Fartlek is not a man. Fartlek is a type of running that is, get this, a Swedish term. (I knew the swedes had something to do with it.) Farlek means “speed play” and is a style of running that incorporates fast segments with slow jogs. It’s a more relaxed version of speed/interval training.

I did my first fartlek yesterday and now I love to fartlek. I can’t stop saying fartlek! Everything is fartlek. When I actually fart? I fartleked. It’s a gas! Fartlek makes me laugh so hard it knocks the wind right outta me. Fartlek makes you hot and stinky. (Ok, I’ll stop..) But SERIOUSLY. Try this on your next run. For my first fartlek I did a 10 minute warm up at a pace slightly slower than my 5k pace. For the next 20 minutes, I did fartlek. I would pick a marker like a lamp post, garbage can or tree and sprint toward that marker. Once I got there, I’d go back to a comfortable jog. A minute or two later, I’d sprint again, using a different marker. That’s the beauty of fartlek. There is no set one minute on, one minute off. You sprint when you want to. Sometimes for a minute. Sometimes for 10 seconds. It keeps things interesting and let me tell you, ya work up a SWEAT. For the last 10 minutes of my run I went back to a comfortable jog.

If you’re at a point in your running journey where you feel like switching it up, try a speed run or a fartlek run! This is what my running schedule looked like this week.

Monday: Physio exercises (which includes rolling out my body, squats, arabesques and stretching) and an at home upper body workout.

Tuesday: physio exercises, warm up, 7K recovery run, cool down stretches.

Wednesday: physio exercises, warm up, First speed run, cool down stretches.

Friday: physio exercises, arm workout, warm up, 40 Minute Fartlek, cool down stretches.

Saturday: physio exercises, 9K run, cool down stretches.

Sunday: Walked to get McDonald’s breakfast, sat in car for 5 hours, unpacked car, ate stew.

What a week it’s been! In a perfect world I would have taken Saturday off and run on Sunday but A) Saturday was the last day of October and I wanted to surpass last months running total and B) I was hungover and had to drive from Toronto to Ottawa Sunday. Also, it was really nice and sunny Halloween morning and the park was full of surprises!

Here’s the thing about switching up your routine. You’re pushing your body in different ways so you might feel different it in different parts of your body. I know I tell you to “listen to your body” all the damn time but I’m saying it again because I constantly need to remind MYSELF. Running 9K after my first fartlek probably wasn’t the best idea for me but I was so set on breaking my monthly record. Now, I’ve got a pain in my right calf and have to take a few days off. So LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. In my heart I knew that I should have stopped at 5K but my ego took me to 9K. I did beat my record though, and I got this spooky badge!

I’ve still got the runs but today I’ve got the walks and the yogas and the taking a bath in epsom salts! The runs will have to wait until tomorrow!

Happy getting the runs, y’all!


Published by EatThisAndShutUp

I'm a comedian, actor, writer, amateur chef and professional eater. Host of "Viral Kitchen" on YouTube!

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