The clinic took place outside the Cheers Store at East Coast Park’s Parkland Green.
Introducing the Mona Fartlek Run
At the session, which had been attended by about 25 runners who had won a Pocari Sweat Singapore – Cheers lucky draw, Mok introduced everyone to the Mona Fartlek run.
This was something that he had learnt during his year-long training stint in the United States.
Named after Steve Moneghetti, these type of training sessions involve alternating bouts of intense but short and fast running, with short recovery jogs in between.
An eye opener for Mok
This type of training had been an eye-opener for Mok – as compared to his methods of training back in Singapore prior to heading to the States.
Said the marathoner, “Before I went to the States I used to train very hard, by running say 10 times up Mount Faber for about 45-60 minutes of high intensity. That could have been why I kept getting injured.”
But in the States, Mok would typically do three 70-minute easy runs in the mornings on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Then in the evenings on these days, he would do an extra 35-minute workout. The long runs would be on Wednesdays and Sundays, and there would be short workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays. Some of these sessions incorporated the Mona Fartlek style workouts.
What we did at the clinic
Basically the Mona Fartlek session at the running clinic, included the following.
- A 10-minute warm up easy jog + striding and drills
- 90-second fast running
- 90-second easy running
- 60-second fast running
- 60-second easy running
- 30-second fast running
- 30-second easy running
- 15-second fast running
- 15-second easy running
- A 10-minute cool down jog
Intense but short session
The session that Mok had done in the clinic, was actually a slightly shortened version. For the full Mona Fartlek training session, the alternating 60-second, 30-second and 15-second interval reps are actually repeated twice, rather than just once.
However even though it was “short”, the session had also been rather intense for many of us, and so, almost everyone had been panting by the end of the clinic.
Mok explained, “The initial 90-seconds of running may seem quite easy when you begin a session, but by the end of the 90-seconds if you are dead, then you went out too fast. So you should start at a fast but conservative pace, and finish strong. Its like running a race; you want to finish strong. This will help you to control your intensity better.”
It also rained midway during the session and I would say that the rain had somewhat helped to cool us down when the going had gotten intense.
But the easy cool down jog couldn’t have come sooner. I think that had been a welcome relief for everyone.
Simple method but has results
Said Mok, “Those who are new to this should take it slowly when they start out – but for me though, I would do my fast intervals at 3:30mins/km pace and the slow intervals at 4:30mins/km pace, so for me, it’s not actually that slow.”
The marathoner added, “This method is quite simple but it has results. It originates from Sweden and means ‘speed play.’ If you do this regularly it will help you to control your speed better.”
Do this run consistently
Mok typically recommends runners to do the Mona Fartlek session consistently – at least once every week, and then after a few weeks you should be able to see some progress.
He added, “And to gauge whether you have improved, you will know because your intervals have become faster from one week to the next.”