What is Fartlek Training …

…and what does it do?

Fartlek Training was invented in the mid 1930s in Sweden, and the name means speed play.  It’s a type of training that combines elements of regular, continuous training with high impact interval training to balance your needs for endurance, stamina, and speed and improve your performance.

The benefits of Fartlek training are that it allows you to build up your overall fitness, while also improving speed and helping to simulate actual competitive conditions and prepare you better for racing.

In most cases, Fartlek training is associated with running, however you can apply the same structure of a workout to cycling or swimming, too, and it’s also a good simulation of how you work when playing football.

A Fartlek Workout

A Fartlek training plan is essentially an structured interval training session that involves multiple levels of intensity and is intended to give you the ability to run (or cycle) faster when your muscles are already fatigued.  Here’s a typical training plan:

  • Run at a gentle pace for 5KM
  • Increase speed and run at high intensity for 1.5KM
  • Walk / slow jog for 1KM to recover
  • Sprint for 50m and jog for 50m for 10 repetitions
  • Sprint for 10m and jog for 65m for 10 repetitions
  • High Intensity up hill for 250m
  • Cool down run 1KM

In total, this run will cover 10KM.  You’ll need to plan a route that includes a fairly steep up hill section, and ideally, also has a track at some point so you can mark out short sections for your sprint.

An average person weighing 150lb will burn around 700Calories during this workout.


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