30 – 90 minutes
5 – 15 km
Fartlek is a funny sounding word that means “speed play” in Swedish. These are similar to base runs, but with moments of hard running sprinkled in. You should run at an easy pace, interposing short, bursts of hard effort at different times of your choosing. Think of it as jogging down the street and then randomly running very hard when passing between landmarks, such as adjacent street signs or houses.
These are a great alternative to intervals when you don’t want to run all out sprints. They shake up the monotony of typical runs and can be sources of motivation when you’ve plateaued in your training.
Once you’re able to handle base runs without issues, try sprinkling in 20 second sprints every 5-6 minutes. When you’re able to do an entire run that includes fartleks with relative ease, try increasing the length of your sprints. Start with 5 more seconds, and grow from there.
Benefits of this Run
Fartlek = Intervals + Base Runs: As a combination of interval running and base runs, you will reap the benefits of both run types. These include improvements to overall endurance, speed, and running economy.
Reduce Monotony: These shake up your running routine by keeping things informal. Fartleks can help you stay focused on running goals by reducing the mental fatigue that may set in from doing the same types of runs, week in and week out.