What is Fartlek Training? Train Indoors or Outdoors

May 09, 2023 3 min read

using a curve treadmill for fartlek training

Fartlek is a type of interval training that involves varying your pace throughout your run. The word "fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play." Fartlek runs are typically done outdoors, and they can be a great way to add variety to your training and improve your speed and endurance.

There are no set rules for fartlek training. You can choose to vary your pace based on time, distance, or landmarks. For example, you might run for one minute at a faster pace, then slow down for two minutes. Or, you might run up a hill at a faster pace, then slow down on the downhill.

The key to fartlek training is to listen to your body and push yourself, but not too hard. You should be able to maintain a conversation while you're running, even during the faster intervals. If you find yourself getting too tired, slow down or take a walk break.

Fartlek training is a great way to improve your speed and endurance without getting bored. It's also a good way to add variety to your training and mix things up. If you're looking for a new way to challenge yourself, give fartlek training a try.

When you do fartlek training, you're essentially 'mixing things up'. Fartlek sessions are usually performed for a minimum of 45 minutes and intensity can vary from walking, right up to sprinting.

What is fartlek training good for?

Because the individual determines the pace and intensity of this kind of training, it is particularly personal. Compared to the potential boredom of a continuous session, it can be stimulating and offers far more diversity.

Due to the significant swings in intensity, it is a fantastic technique to train all three energy systems as well as different muscle fibre types. Fartlek helps to develop your body's capacity to respond to varying intensities, which can be crucial in various sports, particularly team sports like football, rugby, or hockey.

Fartlek training can be done both inside on a treadmill ( great for managing pace, slower going through transitions)  and outside. On a treadmill, like the Life Fitness T5 Track Connect 2.0  for example, choosing the "random" programme will in part resemble Fartlek training, but you could also manually adjust the speed and incline as you go, depending on how you are feeling or you could consider a curved treadmill such as the NOHrD Sprintbok, allowing you to dictate the pace with no buttons so you can react alot quicker like outdoors. Because fartlek training is very random in nature, you have the flexibility to change the intensity of your workouts.

When should you do fartlek training?

Fartlek is a good choice for those who dislike a set structure or routine to their cardiovascular training sessions. It allows you to have control over your training which may help you have more fun. This could then mean you're more likely to stick to your training which in turn will give you better results.

Fartlek, however, might not be appropriate for people who want to gauge growth or who have an extremely particular event or objective in mind. People who are predisposed to train hard even when it is not appropriate (such as those with elevated cardiovascular risk) may push themselves too hard due to the unpredictable nature of the training. The same goes for beginners who might not push themselves hard enough to see any cardiovascular benefits.

Here are some tips for fartlek training:

  • Start with a warm-up.
  • Vary your pace throughout your run.
  • Listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard.
  • Take walk breaks if needed.
  • Cool down after your run.

Here is a sample fartlek workout:

  • Warm up for 10 minutes.
  • Run for 1 minute at a faster pace.
  • Slow down for 2 minutes.
  • Repeat the faster/slower intervals for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes.

You can adjust this workout to fit your own fitness level and goals. For example, you can increase or decrease the number of faster/slower intervals, or you can vary the length of the intervals.

Fartlek training is a great way to improve your speed and endurance. It's also a fun and challenging way to mix things up in your running routine. So give it a try and see how it works for you

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