Many a runner wants to improve their performance, but mention track training and you will get a not so happy response. Although track training is hugely beneficial for improving speed, if you are not an elite runner, you will likely find it boring and possibly also inaccessible.
Fartlek is a fun alternative for those dreaded interval sessions. Best of all with fartlek you are not confined to a track, you can do session just about anywhere. Sports fields, a park, your favorite woody trail, the beach, the options are endless.
So what is fartlek? Fartlek is a kind of informal interval session. The word “Fartlek” is Swedish for “speed play” (Because it is just that, PLAY!) and consists of bursts of speed alternating with easier jog sections.
How to do fartlek:
After a warm-up of about 10 minutes, alternate fast and slow segments of running for 20-45 minutes.
Examples of fartlek sessions:
Run hard for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute. Repeat this 10-15 times
Run hard for 1minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. Jog easy for 1 minute in between hard runs. You can repeat this 2-3 times
You can create your own variations varying the length and intensity of hard runs.
Instead of time You can even use landmarks such as streetlights or telephone poles to mark your segments.
Another variation is also Hill Fartlek. This is where you run continuously over a hilly course, running hard on the uphills and easy on the downhills.
Have fun getting fitter and faster!