Fartlek, Strava and Köttbullar

Inspired by today’s running training session undertaken by 2014 and 2015 solo female UK RAAM contestant Shusanah Pillinger, the essence of Muswell Hill Peloton’s rides can be defined by one word….Fartlek. This definition will no doubt cause some mirth among the membership, but it means ‘speed play’ in Swedish.

Fartlek training is both variable in intensity and continuous in nature. When paired with the website and app phenomenon that is Strava, (incidentally another Swedish word meaning strength), which tracks athletic performance via GPS, a pattern emerges which describes the general activities of the Peloton.

The continuous aspect of MHP’s training is the Sunday ride of 3 hours plus and also the shorter Saturday morning blast around Regents Park. The variable aspect would be the unannounced increases in speed and intensity as one rider after another attacks a certain segment of road before easing back into a steadier pace.

The format is often repeated, especially in the shorter ride, as this type of unstructured interval training lends itself well to the individual rider’s desire to put some ginger into proceedings in order, for example, to form a smaller selection of riders from an existing larger group.

With Fartlek and Strava, athletes of all disciplines have much to thank the Swedish for, and to that The Wattmeister, influenced by a rumbling stomach, would like to add ‘Köttbullar’…meatballs.

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