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Do You Fartlek?

There is no doubt about it, "fartlek" is a funny word. Say it out loud and it will make you giggle.

Knowing that the word is Swedish, might take some of the humor out of it, but no matter its origin it is a fun way to train. "Fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play" and is a variation on interval training. It consists of adding bursts of speed in the middle of a training run.

A fartlek running workout goes like this - Warm up running for at least 5 minutes, continue running at an easy training pace, add bursts of speed for various distances and times throughout the run. Basically you are mixing aerobic work with anaerobic work.

It is important to vary the speed of your bursts as well the duration of the speed sections. The speed section can last anywhere from as short as 15 seconds to as long as two or three minutes. One element of the speed section could be interspersing easy running with three or four "quick steps" now and then to simulating suddenly speeding up to avoid being overtaken by another runner.

The recovery pace is generally faster than the recovery jog you might do during intervals on the track; keep it moving at an easy training pace. The recovery time is usually about 2/3 the time of the speed section.

So, do you fartlek?


Join The Conversation
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 10 years
I do, but unintentionally. I go running with my dog, and whenever he sees a cat, we're off and sprinting! That is, until I can get him under control.
söderskär söderskär 10 years
I never thought about fartlek being a funny word, probably because my Swedish is still better than my English, but I sure do love fartleken. It's the only way I've been running ever since I can remember.
purplesugar purplesugar 10 years
I loved doing fartleks when I ran cross country. We'd jog in a line and the person at the back would sprint to the front and when they got up there the next person at the back would sprint to the front, etc.- we'd do that for several miles. It's a lot more fun that way than on your own.
Fitmari Fitmari 10 years
haha, I'm norwegian and you had me totally confused there for a second mixing english and norwegian, or sweedish but whatever. i do that too, that being fartslek, it's fun!
deanna deanna 10 years
I call it, yes, I suppose I do. Odd! lol
Flirtsy Flirtsy 10 years
is it better than running normally and is it easy to do if you run outside with a stop watch and no trainer?
SU3 SU3 10 years
Yes, I guess I do fartlek. Alright, it does sound funny if you say it like that. :ROTFL: To me, it's much easier to do this type of running outside than on a treadmill - whereas I'll just do interval training.
orangeflower orangeflower 10 years
seems like something I'm doing (used to do) regularly. On the treadmill I'll go a pace, do a sprint for seconds (if i'm outside) or minutes (on treadmill depending on how fast I can go on it). Never knew it had a name though, just figured it was interval training.
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