As you know by now, “fartlek” is one of my favorite vocabulary words. Several of the athletes I am currently training for upcoming marathons have seen a lot of this word recently on their workout calendars. As I was thinking about and planning their upcoming workouts, I remembered a challenging workout that Calum Neff shared with me a while back. If you don’t know, Cal is the World Record Holder for the fastest marathon while pushing a stroller. The dude is fast.
So here it is, in his words.
“My favorite workout has been the Moneghetti Fartlek: 2 x 90 seconds, 4 x 60 seconds, 4 x 30 seconds, 4 x 15 seconds; all with equal but fast recovery in between. The first rep usually starts out around 5k pace and gets faster from there. It’s a great workout because it only takes 20 minutes total, hits on a ton of paces and energy systems. I think my best has been to cover 6,100 meters, that’s 5:17 per mile average INCLUDING the recoveries.”
Wow. Here is how I would prescribe the workout to my athletes:
Easy 2 mile warmup
2 x (90sec HARD, 90 sec REST)
4 x (60 sec HARD, 60 sec REST)
4 x (30 sec HARD, 30 sec REST)
4 x (15 sec HARD, 15 sec REST)
Easy 1-2 mile cooldown
For the HARD sections, progressively pick up your pace, starting around a 5k effort, until the last one is your best effort. For the REST come to a walking pace or jogging pace to gather your self for the next rep. Stop if you need to between reps. You can perform this workout on a track or on the road. The hillier the terrain, the harder the workout of course. So choose wisely, or just hit the hills and be a badass.
This workout makes you work hard, with a short period of rest in between. A lot of bang for your buck in this workout. It’s quick; you will build speed endurance and you will also be challenged to keep an efficient running form in order to hold those hard efforts. If your form gets sloppy, your times will not be as good. Once you have done this workout several times, you can compare to see if you have made improvements.
Good luck getting down to a 5:17 overall pace, but you never know (let us know if you do so we can recognize your badass-ery).
Want to impress someone? If anyone asks you what you are doing, you can tell them “Just the Moneghetti Fartlek.” They will nod and say, “Oh, yeah, the Moneghetti Fartlek, I love that one!” Then, they will most likely go straight to Google to find out what the hell a “Mona-whatever” fartlek is.
The workout is named after an Australian runner, Steve Moneghetti, by the way. More info and his bio here in case you get called out.
So get out there and kick it like Running Dad Cal! Post your distance and pace in the comments below.