The Benefits of Fartlek Running


A Fartlek (swedish for “speed play”) workout involves sprinting and jogging off and on during a run. For example, a normal fartlek workout will be a 20-60 minute run. However, instead of keeping the same pace through the whole workout you sprint, then jog, then sprint again whenever you feel like it. You can customize fartleks to how you feel. If you feel sluggish, limit the number of sprints you do, and take more time to recover. If you feel great, run the sprints hard, and sprint again maybe when you don’t feel totally recovered.



Fartlek benefits:

  1. Creativity – Fartlek running allows the runner to be creative and incorporate different training principles.
  2. Good for any running level – both professionals and beginners can improve a lot by using fartlek running.
  3. Suitable for all running distances – Both 800 meter sprinter and marathon runner can use this type of training in order to achieve their goals.
  4. It burns a lot of fat – The short anaerobic bursts are fueled by glycogen, which is carbohydrates stored in the body. Once these glycogen stores are depleted the body only has one other fuel source: fat.
  5. Time saving – a 20 minutes fartlek session is going to improve you a lot more than a 30-40 minutes slow pace run.
  6. Change your running style – unlike other training sessions, you don’t have to train to a specific time or distance. The experience can be very liberating, although a little strange to begin with. You might find that this style of running quickly becomes your favourite and is something you relish doing.
  7. Fartlek training can be done anywhere – on a tall mountain, the beach or on the road next to your house.
  8. The fartlek method can be used in any cardiovascular activity – you can perform it on a stationery bike, elliptical and even rowing machine.


The Workout:

    1. Perform a warm up.
    2. Perform 13 rounds for a total of 20 minutes of:

Run 30 second at a slow pace, run 30 seconds at a normal pace and 30 seconds at a fast pace.

You should cool down after this workout and run 600 meter at a slow pace, then perform static stretching.

Adding core work at the end of this workout is recommended:
Plank – 3 sets of 60 seconds.



James Wilks

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