Fitter and Faster without the Track

Many a rfitter with fartlekunner 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!

Coach Kathleen


About Coach Kathleen

Coaching since 2004, I have coached both young and old athletes from those achieving provincial and national medals in track, biathlon and cross country to runners running their first ever half marathon or marathon. I am a specialist in youth coaching and my coaching philosophy is to not only help each athlete achieve their best with their athletic talent but to guide each athlete in developing character and transforming their lives beyond the track. As an athlete I have competed at high levels across all the running disciplines, track, road, cross country and trail running as well as internationally in triathlon. I have a personal best of 2 hours 45 min for the marathon and have twice been part of the winning ladies team in the AfricanX trail race. Qualifications IAAF Athletics Lecturer Level 3 Distance Running Coach SAQ Fundamental Movement Certificate Personal Running Performances
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