Fartlek Running

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What is a fartlek run

Fartlek is a Swedish word that translates to “fast play.” The training methods use a combination of continuous (endurance) and intermittent (speed) training.

Running at different rates forces your body to adapt. It makes you speedier over greater distances. You can perform a basic long run at a single, constant pace. Most run programs focus on one or two paces. Fartlek running includes altering your pace continuously during your workout. Interval running requires you to stop or take a break.

A fartlek workout should have a greater average heart rate than an interval session. It could be because of the jogging recovery. It prevents your heart rate from dropping as low as it would in an interval workout. It is excellent for people of all fitness levels. You could modify it to suit individual tastes and train needs.

How to do a fartlek run

However, you may keep things fresh by doing test runs with different ways to perform fartleks throughout your workout.

Each fartlek, on the other hand, is generally organized as follows:

  • 10 minutes of warm-up pace
  • 1-3 minutes of race pace
  • 1 minute of resting pace
  • Repeat this 4-8 times
  • 10 minutes of cool-down pace

You can adjust your race and resting paces based on how far you want to run.

If your first fartlek doesn’t go particularly well, it’s acceptable. Continue your efforts while being willing to take rests. Concentrate on the middle-section bursts of speed work. Also, try to focus on giving your best during such times. Over time, just like with any new exercise routine, you’ll gain the strength and stamina you need. You will also be able to accomplish more things.

Fartlek Run
Source: Pexels.com / RUN 4 FFWPU

What are fartlek training examples?

A Fartlek workout has no organization. It is because it emphasizes an individual’s spontaneity and freedom. However, you may, for instance, schedule a 30-minute run that includes up to 15 intervals of high pace. Alternately, you may determine that every time you reach a stretch on your 1km circular park path, you will dash over it. Try using times to give your workout more form. But, remember that this is much more similar to conventional interval training.

A successful run depends on warm-up and cool-down. Stretching and carefully warming up your muscles is important before engaging in cardiac activity. We recommend a brisk stroll lasting 5 to 10 minutes.

Here is an illustration of a beginner-friendly 40- to 45-minute fartlek running workout:

  • 10-minute warm-up at an easy pace
  • 1 minute on (fast pace), 2 minutes off (easy), 2 minutes on, 1 minute off
  • Repeat the fartlek set 3 to 4 times
  • 10-minute cool-down at an easy pace
Benefits Of Fartlek
Source: Pexels.com / Rosemary Ketchum

How long should a fartlek run be?

Fartlek running’s adaptability is one of its greatest strengths. It’s not constrained by any restrictions of distance or time. Every runner has the option to arbitrarily quicken or slow down their speed at any point during their runs.

Also, strengthening the link between the mind and body lets runners slow down when necessary with less guilt. In the end, it comes down to exercising according to your body’s needs: listening to it.

However, novices should set aside 20 minutes if you want a little structure. The length may vary according to the number of higher intensity intervals added into the run. A longer workout would be simpler to complete if those bursts were shorter. But, 20 minutes is a fair starting point for a lengthy one.

More experienced runners can set a goal of 20 minutes or perhaps push themselves as far as 60 minutes. Just keep in mind to warm up before starting anything new. 

What are the advantages of fartlek training?

So, why would someone engage in fartlek training?

A fartlek run has several advantages for your training program. Some of which include variety, speed, and increased concentration. Let’s examine each one in more detail.


You’re not alone if you think your long runs have grown stale. Keeping oneself interested while running is one of the major obstacles for runners. When you repeat the same running route, you risk losing some of the enthusiasm. You also stand a chance to lose the thrill that may have once had an association with your habit.

Fartlek runs are distinctive in that you may perform them on any surface. Some of which include a track, running trails, and a treadmill. They’re less precise timing than interval runs and permit changes in the scenario. Rather, they combine jogging, speed work, and sprinting throughout your run. With that, they will be able to offer some fun changes.


Do you have plans to maximize your chances of finishing a half marathon, marathon, or other race? The fartlek runs are among the finest strategies to build up your speed and endurance.

Faster mid-race adjustments let you catch up with or pass your opponent. The fartlek runs to keep your body constantly moving. As long as you put in the effort necessary for your fitness level, this is what you’ll draw from during a race.

Greater focus

When running, don’t simply go for the sake of it. To maintain focus, you must actively choose your jogging pace during a fartlek exercise. Maintaining a steady pace isn’t going to cut it. You’ll be varying your intervals based on your goals throughout the workout.

For instance, if you’re running on a circular route, you might sprint at a race pace between each telephone pole before slowing down. To change your pace and increase your challenge level, a fartlek requires you to make decisions while running actively.


For those aiming to increase their pace for their next race, fartlek runs are almost required. You can train your body to use this when required in the long race’s closing stages. You will have to engage in diverse and abrupt bursts of speed work.

Exposure to different exercises, movement styles, and physical demands greatly benefits. It will make you a more well-rounded and powerful athlete. It will also help you improve your running.

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