Fartlek, yes, we said it. It’s a funny word in the English language and it’s supposed to be fun. This Swedish term means “speed play” and is a form of interval or speed training. Fartlek is an effective way of improving your running speed and endurance involves changing your pace throughout the workout alternating between fast segments and slow jogs. By adding this to your workout once a week, you can start to focus on improving that burst of energy necessary for getting closer to the podium.
The workout described here is best performed on a flat area and you don’t need too much space for this workout. If you have access to a track, great! But if you only have a large parking lot, that can work too.
Begin with a 2-mile easy run. This might be the ideal distance to get to a relatively flat running spot directly from your front doorstep. Your warmup should be easy and not exceed a 2 out of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the hardest you can go, and 1 is a walk.
The intervals will be 1 minute hard and 1 minute easy. As mentioned above, the easy intervals should be a jog so choose your hard intervals appropriately. You should be pushing yourself, but you want to be able to complete the workout with the same amount of effort throughout. If you do not have a smart watch to guide you, we recommend you find a place where you can go 2 minutes in one direction. Then turn around and try to match that on every reoccurring interval.
Repeat this for 12-24 times depending on your fitness level. Keeping track of 24 intervals is hard work! If you go back and forth, this is only counting to 12, but it will still be 24 minutes of mental math. Bringing chalk or using stones, twigs or other natural stuff can help you to keep track of where you are. If you doo too many, well, that’s bonus! If you do too few and you realize it on the cool down, then do a pickup.
For the cool down, jog 2 miles ending at a very easy pace. If you ran to where you are doing your intervals, this should be easy to keep track of your 2 miles home.
NOTE ABOUT FOLLOWING TRAINING ADVICE YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET:
As with all training advice, please read this with knowledge of your own health and abilities in mind. Be sure to ask a doctor if you’re healthy enough to perform these exercises. If you have an injury, make sure you have recovered and cleared for additional activity. Do not over-train and ensure you are fueling your body appropriately to maximize your body’s performance and recovery. If something causes pain, that’s not good. Stop that exercise and perhaps the workout. When you workout, you should feel like you’re doing work but there shouldn’t be pain. Listen to your body and be smart.