Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “Speed play”. And it is exactly that. The session involve alternating between faster and slower segments of running. These can be as structured as you would like (thus the play!). You can make use of landmarks or time to determine your fast / slow segments. The great thing about fartlek is that it can be done anywhere and is very easy to incorporate into your regular routes to add a bit more intensity.
Lampposts: For this session you can make use of street lampposts, trees, bins or any other evenly spaced landmarks that are 50 to 200 m apart. In the example I will use lampposts.
Start the first time by running fast for 1 lamppost, jogging easy for 2 lampposts. Repeat for 10 to 20 minutes. As you progress you can move up to running fast for 2 lampposts, jogging easy for 1 lamppost.
Play with the length of the fast/easy sections as well as the total length of the session as you get fitter.
Classic 1 minute fartlek: This is a staple among almost every training group.
Alternate running fast for 1 minute with running easy for 1 minute. Start with 6 repetitions and build up to 10 repetitions.
Pyramid fartlek: This pyramid I also refer to as death by fartlek as it is a real toughie!
Do 1 min/2 min/3 min/4 min/5 min/5 min/4 min/3 min/2 min/1 min fast (85 to 90% effort).
Jog half the time in between. i.e. After the 1 min jog 30 sec, after the 2 min jog 1 min etc.
Let me know how you get on!
Onwards and upwards