Fartlek Training: What is it, Benefits and Example Workout

If you like to try something more challenging than steady state cardio, you should absolutely try fartlek. Fartlek training is a training method that will definitely get you out of your comfort zone, help you burn fat, improve your conditioning and running.

What is Fartlek training

Fartlek training, or “speed play” in Swedish, is an advanced form of interval training (or speed training if you prefer) that can help you improve both aerobic and anaerobic capabilities. It’s a form of running where the runner varies the pace significantly during the run.

Unlike the traditional interval training where you run and rest for a precise interval of time, fartlek training is a bit less structured. Rest and run intervals can be based on how you feel.You can also change and experiment with the pace of running during the workout.

Fartlek training is practiced by experienced, but also beginner runners because is not as demanding to the body as the traditional interval training, and yet it involves speed work. Another benefit of this type of training is that it can be done on all types of terrains – a running track, a country trail , parks, hills etc.

Fartlek training benefits

– It will improve speed
– It improves endurance
– It improves aerobic capacity
– It doesn’t require special equipment
– Speeds up metabolism more than traditional cardio since it had higher intensity phases
– It improve mental strength.

How to Do Fartlek Workouts

During your normal run, you can start adding short periods of higher pace.These can be maintained for short periods like 100-200m  (20-30 seconds). After this shord high intensity period, drop your pace to normal or below normal (you can even walk if you feel winded) until you have recovered and your breathing has returned to normal.After that, you can start running at your normal pace again and add another period of high pace.

Just like HIIT, Fartlek training is a little tough on the body, but can significantly  improve your speed and your anaerobic threshold.

Example Fartlek training workout

-10 minutes of warm up
– 3-4 sets of : 30 seconds of fast pace running then 100 seconds of jog/walk,  20 seconds of high intensity run then 100 seconds of jog.
– 5 minute cool down.

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