After my fight with a loose paving stone last Sunday, the bunion on my right foot swelled up and it hurt to bend my big toe, to the point that I was limping. The test was whether an easy run on Tuesday would make it worse or better and, although it was a little painful at times, it was no worse afterwards and slightly less swollen the next day. One thing is running at a steady speed of around 12-13 kilometres per hour when, if you have legs as long as mine, you hardly need to bend your toes - another thing is running at 16-19 kph...
So I wasn't sure how my "fartlek" would go on Wednesday and it was certainly more "fart" (Swedish for speed) than "lek" (Swedish for play or fun). The idea was to do two "ladders" of 6 minutes, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 at speeds of 16.5 kph (3:40 per km) to 19 kph (3:10 per km) with an active recovery of 1 minute jogging in-between. As I prefer to do these kind of workouts on a treadmill and my treadmill at home doesn't go above 17.5 kph, I decided to do the workout at the work gym. Bad idea. For the first time I actually remembered to take a digital thermometer with me - I'd always been curious to know how much hotter it really was. The temperature started at 23.5 degrees (Celsius) and rose to 24.5 degrees after about 20 minutes. Imagine running on a hot sunny day with a tailwind the same speed at which you are running, so that you are enveloped by the stifling air. It's quite a difference running in my basement which is at least 5 to 8 degrees cooler. I did half the workout and most of the really fast bits before leaving the rest to finish at home. I've decided that next time I'll do the workout at home and resort to a steeper incline when the motor comes up short in terms of speed - after all, now that I am training for a Marathon the key isn't so much pure speed but resistance.
On Saturday I did a reasonably tough workout of three sets of 15 minutes at 16 kph (3:45 pace). The idea was to tire out my legs for the long run the next day. In my plan I was down to run 30 kms "easy" as a depletion run but my friends were doing a different kind of long run and, in the end, the prospect of running in good company was too much to resist. We ran a total of 26 kilometres but with some interesting changes of rhythm: 5 km at 12 kph (5:00 pace), 10 km at 13.5 kph (4:30 pace), 8 km at 15 kph (4:00 pace) and 3 km at 12 kph (5:00 pace).
The fast section was quite tough but we actually ran it a little faster than necessary. In the end it was a good workout that left me feeling nicely tired - definitely a good blueprint for future long runs.