Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fartlekking and a balaclava

Today we're going to pay homage to running lingo derived from Swedish and Ukrainian roots.


[Pausing.  Go ahead and laugh.]

Fartlekking is a Swedish term that literally translates to "speed play."  Fartlek running involves randomly varying your pace throughout your run, alternating between fast bursts for unspecified periods of time, mixed with random periods of slower paces.  No rhyme or reason needed.  Doing this type of training is supposed to help to increase your endurance and your speed.

What's great about fartlekking is that it can be very unstructured.  Unlike other types of speed training, there's no need to monitor interval times or distances.

I am currently a much slower runner than I would like to be.  Therefore, I am going to start fartlekking maybe once a week.  I hear that in general it's better not to be building distance and speed at the same time.  Therefore, over the remainder of the winter I think I am going to dial back a bit on distance training and focus a little more on building speed.  Here's hoping that fartlekking will do the trick!

In the meantime, here is a great commercial featuring one of my favorite Swedes.


After posting about my winter wimpiness, I thought more about the full-face ski mask and how I believed that getting one would provide me an instant boost of added winter toughness.

Temps in Chicago have been in the teens this entire week - an especially rude jolt back to reality after the trip to Puerto Rico last weekend.  As such, per my standard operating procedures, I ran on the treadmill on Tuesday.  I was instantly reminded of how much I dislike treadmills.  I get bored very quickly, and when I get bored I start thinking I must be tired, and then lo and behold I AM tired.

On a side note.  In high school we had to do a senior project called an "I-Search" (as opposed to a research).  The I-Search involved finding ways to collect your own data, as opposed to looking up information from sources such as encyclopedias.  I conducted my I-Search on psychosomatics, which is the concept of the mind controlling the body.  For example, people are much more likely to get sick when they are depressed, and conversely are much quicker to recover from illness or injury when they are happy.  In short, psychosomatics can be a constant factor in almost everything that athletes do.  And I am a prime example when I am slogging away on the treadmill.  It's like I am enveloped in an instant cloud of doom the moment I step onto one.

Back to my winter wimpiness, I decided to call my own bluff on the full-face ski mask.  Anything to avoid the human conveyer belt.

I went onto Amazon to start looking for a ski mask.  It was then that I realized these things actually are called balaclavas.  The name "balaclava" comes from the town of Balaklava, near Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine.  Apparently during the Crimean War, balaclavas were sent over to British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold.

One of these beauties is being shipped to me as we speak.

Balaclava = Instant Toughness.
Don't mess with me!  Otherwise, my glasses will
get fogged up and then I'll regret it!
Unfortunately, almost all of the balaclavas were only in available in black.  I was hoping they would have different colors because the black admittedly does look quite sinister.  The funny thing was that many of the product reviews included reference to the balaclavas doubling as Halloween costumes. 

In any event, I am looking forward to trying the balaclava out and hopefully further avoiding the human conveyer belt! 

And not to worry, I have no plans to hold anyone to a stickup while wearing it.  Unless of course you are carrying a lot of chocolate and/or a Chicago-style deep-dish spinach and mushroom pizza (Gino's East, Lou Malnati's, or Bacino's, please). 

But even then, not to fear.  The balaclava has no mouth opening anyways.

No comments:

Post a Comment