Fartleks cater to a wide variety of runners, fitness levels and training schedules. It is training designed to help the body take on a higher workload by combining short bursts of speed and sustained hard effort. Developed by the Swedish running coach Gosta Holmer, fartlek training enables runners to engage different muscle fibers during the course of a run.
What are the benefits of fartlek training?
- It's a simple, easily adaptable routine
- Adds variety to your workout
- Can help take you to the next level
- Helps aid in weight loss
- There are a variety of fartlek routines
Simplicity of fartlek
Part of the beauty of fartlek training is how it can fit seamlessly into almost any training program. For example, during your run you could sprint from one landmark (i.e. a light pole) to the next landmark, then jog to the next corner, followed with a medium effort, more jogging, and another sprint between two landmarks. It's not restricted to just track workouts.
Bust through plateaus to the next level
- Increase mileage
- Number of workouts
- Increase intensity
Burn more fat
Fartleks simulate race conditions
Incorporating fartlek training into your routine
Doing this type of training during the base-phase can be as easy as incorporating it into one or two runs a week as you slowly build your miles. One method is to do a one-minute surge every six to seven minutes. It need only be at a pace just slightly faster than your long-run pace.
Fartlek training leaves it up the individual to determine what pace and change of pace is needed to build speed and endurance. It's not as demanding as traditional interval training, and is far more flexible.
An additional benefit of fartleks is that they lead you to running at higher speeds just by putting a little more stress on your system. It also improves your anaerobic threshold.
Try out some of these fartlek workouts
- Beginner's Workout: Begin with a 10-minute warm up. Run one minute at a fast pace, two minutes easy, two minutes fast, one minute easy. Repeat this three to four times during your run.
- Sprinting Power: Do a five-minute jog to warm up. Then run hard for 30 seconds, followed by a slow jog for 90 seconds. Repeat this with 15-second decreases in the slow jog until your final set is 30 seconds fast, 15 slow. Repeat this three times.
- The Lactic Burn: Start with a five-minute warm up jog. Run hard for four minutes, and then do a slow jog for one minute to recover. Repeat this eight times.
- Intermediate Workout: After a five-minute warm up jog, run hard for 75 seconds, jog for 150 seconds, run hard for 60 seconds, and then jog for 120. Repeat this three times.
- Landmark to Landmark: Following a five-minute warm up job, pick a target (i.e. car, light pole, stop sign) 100 to 200 meters away. Sprint to the target. Slow jog or walk for 60 seconds, then do another sprint. Repeat this 10 times.
If you feel that you're in a training rut, give fartleks a try and see what adding them to your training routine can do for your performance. We think you'll be happy with the results.