OK, I've been shambling for nearly 4 years and am quite happy with what I've achieved on my own. I've thought about joining a running club but being a non-driver (and Mr. Shambler is NOT interested in shambling), it's just not practical.

I've been buying Runners World for a few months now (I've just opted to subscribe from the December issue) and really enjoy it as it is quite friendly, however, I'd be really grateful if someone could just outline the basics for me, or point me towards the relevant place on the web site, i.e.:-

what exactly is fartlek?
what is a tempo run?
best way to start doing speed sessions?
best way to start doing hill sessions?
(I can shamble 7k in just under 40 mins - not bril I know, but not bad considering when I started I couldn't even walk briskly!)

Thanking you for your help.

Happy Shambler!


  • Sham
    Try starting with:
    (or search on fartlek on the Home page).

    For fartlek you run along at your own comfortable pace then sprint for a few metres then drop back to normal pace, without stopping or walking if possible. The beauty is you can chooose your own times to put in the sprint "I'll do from that pothole to the next lamp-post" - doesn't need to be very sophisticated but does seem to make a difference in building up speed.

  • Dear Sham,
    I would recommend reading one of John Bingham's books eg "Courage to Start". It really helped me when I first started "running" (more of a slow shuffle really) and is worth reading for inspiration as well as information.
    And no - I don't work on commission!
  • Thanks Nick & Bean. Now I guess the real work starts!

    Happy Shambler!
  • PS - I'm also a non-driver & therefore not a member of a running club for the same reason. I have started using organised races as part of my schedule:

    a)because they are interestng enough for the family to come to (& so give me a lift)
    b)I get the chance to run with other people & pick up the buzz
    c) it gives me some milestones to work to.

    Of course the word 'races' is a slight misnomer in the sense I'm not racing anyone & am nowhere near winning anything (unless they have a spot prize!) - got very excited once when I found out I'd finished in the top half of the field!
  • Nick - thanks for that last post, it's given me hope. I've not entered any races as yet - my first looks as though it'll be the Brighton 10k on Nov 17, are you doing that one? - mainly because of the word 'race'. But you've made it seem less scary!

    Nervous, Race-Virgin Shambler!
  • Hi Shambler,
    what exactly is fartlek? - this is short sprints with slower jog recoveries between each, as Nick says above. You could try between lamposts - sprint a lampost and jog for 2 lamposts. Unless your local lampost people are very orderly, you will find that lamposts are not at regular intervals.
    what is a tempo run? - this is a faster paced, steady run. So you would go and jog say 1 mile to warm up, then speed up for the next two miles, then back down to a jog to warm down and finish.
    best way to start doing speed sessions? Fartlek, as described above. Don't worry about doing speed sessions to times or distances until you feel more confident. Fartlek is a speed session.
    best way to start doing hill sessions? Are there any hills around your regular running routes? If you can include a couple of hills in your normal runs that is a good start. When you are more confident you can try running up a hill, then jog/walk down, then go back up. Try doing 3 up to start with - on the third one up continue your run over the top and head for home.
    Good luck.

  • Thanks, DS. More food for thought!

    Knackerd-Just-Thinking-About-It Shambler!
  • Hi shambler
    Brighton was my first ever race last year and I finished just one second over the hour.(you will have seen on the other thread that I don`t expect to do that this year.) Don`t be worried about a `race` tho` cause the buzz is great and carries you thro` and the only person you are trying to beat is yourself. Hey I`ll be there shambling along right behind you.
  • Thanks, SP. It really hepls to hear from those who have done it all already. See you in Brighton!

    Happy Shambler!
  • Dangly Spice

    I've always wondered how fartlek gets its name.... any ideas?
  • :0) Hi,

    Apparently, to quote a source....

    "Fartlek training is Swedish for "speed play" ("fart" = speed; "lek" = play, which makes one wonder... do Swedish cops give tickets for farting?). It was originally developed by and for runners, as a looser alternative to their highly structured timed interval training."

    I have to admit, I always did wonder where & how they came about such a term!!

  • Hi bookedwormuk

    Thanks! - I'm impressed at your knowledge, might have known it was Swedish..... just think of all the silly names they have in Ikea!

  • :0) Hi Helen,

    I'd hate to know what other unnusual translations can be made for terms/references in the world of sport....I'd hate to know, especially after the fartlek was literally translated!!!


  • I first came across the term when i was orienteering, way back in the early 1990s. I did wonder if it was a comment on my gastic activities at first!
  • :0) Hi,

    Orienteering is something I wouldn't mind doing, but my navigation skills aren't that good at the best of times.

    I have to admit, when I first read the translation, it certainly raised an eyebrow & I certainly will smile a little smile when I see references to the term....but then, my sense of humour has never risen far out of the gutter, or so I've been told!! I've only ever done 1 fartlek before, some 15 yrs ago, for 15 minutes on a track....sprinting the straights & jogging the bends. The first lap was fun, but then it went downhill from there, but it was good to do & maybe I'll give it a try soon(ish) when my fitness levels are okay!

Sign In or Register to comment.