The Fartlek, Swedish for “speed play”, is a running method that can be used to improve your stamina, break a new running PR, or as a new tool to help keep your workouts fun and challenging!
What it is?
A fartlek workout is defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running. You can do a fartlek on the track, outside, or even on a treadmill.
Who can do it?
What’s great about the Fartlek is that anyone can do it! It’s a very adaptable workout so it works great for people who are fast, slow, or anywhere in-between. As long as you vary your speeds correctly you can reap the benefits.
How long is each interval?
There is no set interval length for the fartlek making it adaptable to your running environment. If you’re on a track it can be easy to judge your distances by 100 or 200 meter intervals. When doing a fartlek on a treadmill try doing time intervals in place of distance intervals. If you’re running outside on the open road it can be a little more challenging. Try using light poles as markers. Run faster between one set and jog between the next. All you need is a few landmarks to judge your intervals!
This sounds hard. Do you really think I can do it?
Of course! You’re awesome! But seriously, the beauty of the Fartlek is that you’re in control. You set the interval length and pace. That means if you run quickly for 100 feet, you can jog for 400 feet after if you like. Listen to your body and let it judge your intervals.
What can it do for my body?
Not only can it improve your aerobic endurance and stamina, but the short bursts burn glycogen, the carb stores in your body, and once these are depleted your body begins to burn fat as a fuel source. This effect lasts even after your workout ends.
So try adding a fartlek to your run. Remember, your intervals can be anything you want them to be! Challenge yourself and work your way up to longer fast-paced intervals! You can do it!