|Steve Moneghetti running on the 6k "Moneghetti Track" around the Lake that he so regularly used for his famous fartlek.|
The Moneghetti Fartlek itself is at once simple to perform and yet beautifully complex in how many systems it stresses and improves. It takes a mere 20mins to perform and yet it can be one of the hardest all around sessions you do.
You run 2x90seconds, 4x60seconds, 4x30seconds, 4x15 seconds. Each hard effort is followed by a QUICK recovery jog of the same time. You should run the 90 second reps at about 5k effort and as the reps get shorter try to run them a bit faster so that by the 15 second reps you are ATTEMPTING to sprint at near max. The max will be easy but making that a sprint is a real job.
The real key to the workout, and the real devil of the workout, is that the recoveries are a QUICK jog. The quick jog means that in addition to the benefits of a normal anaerobic interval workout, i.e. increased latic tolerance, improved vo2max, increased efficiency at quicker speeds and greater muscular power this workout is also a GREAT aerobic tempo workout. In fact because you have to flush out the acid from the faster reps there is some evidence that this workout and others like it do more to improve your latic threshold, the single most important marker of fitness for races of 5k to marathon, than regular tempo runs or any other type of training.
Steve says that he normally would end up averaging around 3:05 per kilometer, 4:57 mile pace, for this session. Roughly around his marathon pace. That is with the rest included, obviously. It should be noted that this was mixed in to regular 130 mile weeks with 3 OTHER hard efforts. He also said that his fastest performance he covered exactly 7 kilometers in the 20 minutes. That is 4:35 mile pace with the RECOVERIES INCLUDED! My personal best session for this so far is averaging 4:55 per mile. I generally run between 5:00 and 5:10 per mile when I do it.
Why do this workout? It improves your latic threshold greatly which makes it a super session for general fitness for everyone from the miler to the marathoner. It is quick, simple and can be done anywhere; this is my staple workout when I am traveling. It touches on a number of paces and effort levels which means it really covers a lot in just one session. It is not so anaerobic that it will break you down or increase the risk of illness or injury if done regularly. Most importantly it teaches you to recover at a quick pace which in my experience is the single most important thing to teach your body in order to be a fast distance runner.
When to do this workout? Whenever! This is one of the few sessions you can be well justified in doing in any and all phases of your training. It is a jack of all trades workout that fits as well in a base phase as a specific phase and does wonders for the high school runner working towards a mile best or the Olympic hopeful looking to keep his latic threshold and muscular efficiency up well prepping for a 2:12 marathon.
So the next time you need a great workout to improve your threshold and your efficiency at pretty much all your racing speeds and perhaps time is tight do yourself a favor and dive into a Moneghetti Fartlek. It won't be the easiest session you ever do but it will likely be one of the best.