First things first, you're probably wondering what the heck a "fartlek" is. No, no, no it's not a term for when runners pass gas, we're adults here...sometimes. A Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play" and when it comes to running it's a continuous training that includes interval training. Want to learn how to run a fartlek now? Read on to figure it out.
Why you should run fartleks
Fartleks are designed to improve your running speed and endurance. Whether you're new to the running world or not, everyone is going to want to get better at speed and endurance in some area of their life. Fartlek training helps with pacing because you're alternating between fast and slow segments. They differ from intervals training because those workouts are focused on time or measurements, and fartleks are more unstructured. One of the greatest parts of running fartleks is that it can be done anywhere; roads, trails, and even hills. Spice up your average runs with these fartlek workouts.
How to run a fartlek workout
To begin training with fartlek-style running, introduce short periods of slightly higher pace into your normal runs. Maintain this faster pace for a short distance or time intervals, such as 200 meters or 30 seconds. One thing that makes fartleks fun is that it's really a free for all. If you're taking your run on the road, make landmarks your pressure point. For instance, when you're on the sidewalk, look ahead and find a streetlight or telephone pole that you dedicate as your point to sprint to. Tell yourself that's where you'll pick up your pace and once you hit it go all out, then find another mark to slow down back to your average pace.
Here's your fartlek workout
It's obvious you're dying to get out on the road and start training with fartlek runs. Here's an example of a beginner fartlek workout.
Warm-up: 10-minute easy pace
1-minute fast pace (5k pace)
2 minutes easy pace (10k pace)
2 minutes fast pace (5k pace)
1-minute easy pace (10k pace)
Repeat 3-4 times
Cool down: 10-minute easy pace
Including the warm-up and cool down, if you complete the fartlek portions 3 times, the workout will equate to 18 minutes. If 4 sets are completed, it will equate to 24 minutes. Test the waters and see how you feel with 3 sets and if you can go a bit further, go for it. There will never be a workout you regret doing. Hopefully, you enjoy running a bit more after training with fartleks.
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