If you’re new to running or have never incorporated speed, tempo or fartlek running into your workouts you may be unfamiliar with the running lingo. Since dropping down to 3 runs a week, my coach has me focusing on QUALITY over QUANTITY and on my typical tempo day doing a fartlek run instead. Why??? Because I’m trying to get some of my old speed back (rather than build on the speed I already have like I recommend for others who are actually improving), and fartleks are definitely helpful if you are stagnant or getting slower.
First, what is a fartlek? Fartlek actually means “speed play” in Swedish. They teach the body to switch gears and use different muscle fibers. Runners do them to get faster!
Second, what types of farleks should you do. Well, that depends. There are a variety of ways to do fartlek runs and depending on where you are in your mileage building may depend on what type of fartlek you want to incorporate. The type I’ve been doing are for half marathon training and are 30-40 min in duration (excluding warm up and cool down).
Here is my favorite:
1 mile warmup easy pace
7 min 5K pace (if you don’t know what this is go with a pace that’s not comfortable for long), 2 min easy
6 min 5K pace, 2 min easy
5 min 5K pace, 2 min easy
4 min 5K pace, 2 min easy
3 min 5K pace, 2 min easy
2 min 5K pace
1 mile cool down easy pace
(should total 6 miles give or take depending on your speed).
For an easier way to incorporate fartleks if you’re not ready for the workout above, start with adding .1 mile surges to your easy pace long run. At the end of each mile, surge for the last 1/10 mile (only about 20 seconds faster than usual pace). It’s a great way to begin teaching your muscles (and lungs) to work!
What is your favorite fartlek workout? Would love to hear!!!