Skip Nav

How to Do a Fartlek Workout

Running Workout: Fartlek Speed Play

Interval training is a great way to torch calories and improve your fitness level, but you don't need to be beholden to your stopwatch when doing speed work. You can add a dash of play to your sprints with a fartlek workout. Fartlek is the Swedish term for speed play, which just means changing your speed for varying distances while out on a run. How could a word that sounds so silly not be fun to put into practice?

This variation of interval training is perfect for urban areas since you can use different landmarks — like bus stops, benches, or the length of a city block — to set the distance of your sprints. Pick a spot ahead of you and increase your speed as you run toward it. Simple no? Keep reading for a sample workout after the break.

Activity Duration Details/Recovery Time
Warmup 3 minutes Brisk walk
Warmup 5 minutes Jog
Easy speed* 5x 1 minute 1 minute recover**
5x sprints 1 block length 1 block length recover
4x short sprints 20 seconds 1 minute recover
Cooldown 5 minutes Jog
Cooldown 3 minutes Brisk walk

*Easy speed is not a full sprint, but running at a fairly quick pace
**Recover means jog, so your heart rate can slow down

This workout is simply a rough guide: you can create your own plan using the landscape of your neighborhood to keep track of distances for sprints. Run at an accelerated pace to a streetlight, then do a full-out sprint to the corner, and recover by jogging past three more streetlights. It's kind of like playing Candy Land when you were a kid, but now you get to make up all the rules.

Source: Getty
Latest Fitness

Download our Halloween app!

Go to App Store
+