We Love a Challenge, a.k.a. Fartlek Run

I can’t tell you exactly how to define a Fartlek run. Something about a Sweedish word, speed play, unstructured.
Whatever the exact definition is, for me a Fartlek run is one where I change the speed and the interval lengths unevenly, not as a HIIT where each interval is the same length/speed.

This morning I had a Fartlek run scheduled that scared me a little.

Fartlek Run

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do the last 2 minutes, because I’m not used to that speed, and not for a whole 2 minutes, and not after 41 minutes of running. So finishing the run, tired but strong, made me happy.

It doesn’t matter what your ‘fast’ speed is, or what distance is ‘long’ for you.
Whether you are trying to run a whole mile without stopping, going for a sub 1:20 half marathon, or if you just run with no goals, pushing yourself to those places you are not sure you can go is 90% of the fun.
Because as long as we are going outside our comfort zone, then it becomes a challenge. And don’t we all love a challenge.

I did some ab work after the run, and 20 minutes of light swimming.
I spent the rest of the morning at home, just tiding up and doing house stuff, had a salad for lunch with some homemade granola bars I made for the kids (corn flakes, oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips), and took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.

Later we went to the port with the kids and took their bikes. The weather was perfect, and although it was crowded it was nice.
We had fresh juice, a cheese plate, wraps, coffee, and ice cream. We can’t go out without food being involved.

Eating and Drinking at TLV Port
TLV Port


Do you plan some of your runs to be challenging?

Is eating and drinking part of the fun when you go out?


More Crosstraining Than I Bargained For

I went for my usual once a week 3KM/3280yard swim this morning, a tough workout that I partly enjoy and partly hate. Except this week I did it twice because I missed it last week and just had to make up for it.
I had a HIIT running session yesterday afternoon, and will do a Fartlek run tomorrow morning, so running was out of the question today.

We are on Passover holidays and I’m staying home for a few days since the kids don’t have school.
My husband was able to take off work as well, and we went for a good bike ride on some trails about an hour from our house.
The kids are too small to ride their own bike for longer than 10 minutes, but we were able to carry them on a buggy. We don’t own bikes at the moment, so we rented all the equipment.


We rode about 11KM/7M, taking it really easy, stopping to take pictures, to eat fruit, to enjoy nature since we were pretty much alone the whole ride.
It took us about 3 hours to get back to the town where we rented the bikes, the only reason we hurried up a bit at the end was because it was around noon and it was getting too hot to be in the sun, especially riding. The kids were covered and had their water bottle so at least we didn’t have to worry about them, but we hadn’t taken water with us, and we were doing all the work.


Surprisingly enough, at least for me, I was able to carry the buggy about 40% of the time, taking the load off my husband. Last time we did something similar, which was about a year ago, I couldn’t carry it for more than a few minutes.

After we returned the bikes we went to lunch at a really cute and good restaurant in a city called Binyamina. We sat on the front porch, and they had an area for kids to play in, with a small slide and other things like that, perfect for them to entertain themselves after the 5 minutes it took them to eat. The food was very tasty, we were starving too so probably anything would have seemed good, but I can tell this was good for real. A few appetizers, main dish, yummy dessert, and strong coffee, and we were ready for the car ride back home.


It was a really nice, relaxed, and enjoyable day. I admit this is not a given while home on vacation with little kids. So double perfect day.


How do you spend your time off, with and/or without kids?


10 Tips to Get Your Running Motivation Back

Sometimes it happens that you just lose it.
You love running, but you lose your motivation.
It may just be a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month.
You are tired, you haven’t been eating healthy, work is crazy, you’ve gone back to smoking/drinking/doing drugs/whatever addiction you may have. You’ve fallen off the running path.

I’ve had a couple of tough weeks, and although I’ve been keeping my training and my healthy habits for the most part, I just haven’t been really feeling it. The worse thing about that, is that if you are not enjoying what you do, then you aren’t going to keep doing it for long.

Off the Wagon

Here is what has been helping me get my motivation back:

1) Relax: Sure, you probably aren’t exactly at your best moment, but stressing over the runs you didn’t take or how bad you’ve been feeling is not going to help you. Before you can get back in the game you need to breathe deep, relax, and clean your mind.

2) Forget about the future: We usually have all these long term plans of things we want to do, races we want to run, PRs we want to achieve. And although I think those goals can be great motivators, sometimes when we are overwhelmed they act against us. So I try to think about today and tomorrow only, today’s HIIT and how it’s going to make me feel so much faster, tomorrow’s long run which always leaves me tired but happy. And that’s it. Anything beyond that, I’ll deal with later.

3) Let the past go: Whatever it is that we did or didn’t do, it’s over. Forget the runs you didn’t take and the overindulgences, it’s all up from here.

4) Change your training for the upcoming week: Never mind what’s in your calendar for next month, season, etc. This week it’s OK to take it easy. Get back into running slowly but surely.

5) In a few days, revisit your goals: Sometimes the main reason we lose our motivation is because we just trained to hard, too much, too soon. Think about what may have been the trigger for your lack of motivation, and if it may be a good idea to change a few things in your training plan.

6) Google your motivation: There is so much online that can help get your motivation back. Maybe it’s reading running quotes, or running blogs, or running websites, or online shopping (for new running shoes of course).. whatever helps you get out the door and run, go find it.

7) Go for a run with a friend: Even if you don’t usually run with people, going for that first run after a bad period with a friend will help you remember how much fun running is. Don’t think of pace or miles or training, just go run and enjoy the company.

8) Update your music: If you run with music, a few songs will get you going again. Do a Yutube search of new disco/techno/country/yourstyle songs, try them at home, and if you like them take them out for a run.

9) Get it together: It’s OK to be weak every now and then. But then it’s not. Think of your kids, your health, your significant other, whatever is important to you in your life, and just get it together, for everybody.

10) Remember we have all been there: I hate to find comfort in the misery of others, but truth is there is something about others having gone through what I’m going through that makes me feel good. It makes me feel less weak, less sad, it makes me feel like I can reach out and look for support, because I will find it.



Have you ever lost your running motivation?

What helped you get it back?


9 thoughts on “We Love a Challenge, a.k.a. Fartlek Run”

  1. Yay, what an awesome Fartlek run!!! You did a phenomenal job!! I love the challenge of a Fartlek because of the variations in pace. It never gets boring because I’m constantly thinking about what’s next!! Very good!!! :) :)

  2. How do you know what pace you should be setting for yourself on a fartlek run? I’ve never done one and it looks interesting…. I’ve battled in the past with interval training because it tends to put extra pressure on my knee that was injured a few years ago but want to give it a try again anyway (making sure to look after my knee at the same time).

    1. I started doing both HIIT and Fartlek runs, by guessing pretty much. I decided on a pace that I thought I could hold for that specific amount of time, considering the numbers of intervals and total length of the run.
      Start relatively easy and see how you feel afterwards (the later intervals will feel disproportionally harder than the first), you can always try for a little faster next time.

    1. That’s perfect, I also do speed work twice a week, more than that is just too much.
      I am a planner so I do plan my runs, but that’s just because I enjoy doing it, not sure there’s an actual benefit.

  3. I love fartlek runs, it’s my favorite kind of workout because I don’t get all up in my own head about hitting specific intervals and times. I like to do it according to music, like speeding up for 1-2 songs then going back to steady pace for the next song. Then I don’t think about how long it is and since every song differs in length, so do the intervals.

    1. That sounds fun, and relaxing in the sense that you do what you feel at the moment.
      I’m so structured with my runs, I do schedule fartleks in advance, but I usually make them different lengths and different speeds.

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