What Is Fartlek Training? | Running Workouts For Speed & Endurance
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What Is Fartlek Training? | Running Workouts For Speed & Endurance

– It can be easy to fall
into a rut with your running and sometimes, it just
needs a little spicing up. Fartlek training is a
great way to do this. Now I’m going to be
explaining what fartlek is and more importantly how
you can incorporate it into your training to help
you improve your running. (electronic sound effects) Doing all of your run training at one pace will result in a performance plateau. And it is easy to think that if you’ve got a set
distance you’re targeting, if you continue to practise
running that distance as hard as you can, you will get better. Well, doing time trials
regularly will help, but only if they’re interspersed
with other training. You’ll be pleased to
hear that easy running is just as important as
the harder, fast stuff, as well as those paces in between. Variety is the key here, and this is where fartlek comes in. (electronic music) You’ve probably heard of speed work or interval sessions. That’s pretty much what fartlek is. It’s a Swedish word meaning speed play. So that translates as a freestyle
type of interval session. It’s where within your
run you change the pace as dictated by the natural environment as opposed to running to your watch. And this is a great refresher for the body and for the mind. You still get that same
physiological benefit but you’re not gonna be
a slave to the numbers. The beauty of this type of session is the fact that you don’t
need a strict or specific plan. Having said that, though, I’ve
got a couple of suggestions just to help you get started. So a good starting point
will be a 40 minute run and then break that down
as a 10 minute warm up, 20 minutes of Fartlek running, followed by a 10 minute warm down. And for those 20 minutes, I want you to choose an upper pace, so the fast pace, to be around your 5k effort, so you’re gonna be running by feel. And then your easy pace
around your marathon pace, so a sustainable effort faster than your warm up or your warm down but still you’re recovering
from that 5k pace. And then, I want you
to run at your 5k pace to a landmark, say a building or something that you can see ahead, a distance away that you know you can
sustain that pace for and then go back to your marathon pace, and then when you see your next landmark, pick it back up and run
at 5k pace until that. And continue to do this
for your 20 minutes and then finish off with a nice, easy 10 minute warm down. Depending on what terrain
you’re running on, you’re going to find certain
landmarks along your way. Doesn’t really matter what they are. Could be lampposts, trees,
significant buildings or even road signs. Anything that catches your eye and that gives you that natural
reason to change your pace. And if you’re someone that
likes to run with music, and you can use this
on a treadmill as well, you can use the chorus of the song to run at an intense level, and then do your recovery on the verses. But you might just want to
choose your playlist wisely for this. Just as the distances are flexible, so are the intensities. So for this example, I’m
just gonna keep it to a 30 minute run consisting
of a 10 minute warm up, 15 minutes of Fartlek, and
then a five minute warm down. And these we’re going
to make much shorter, but as a result much faster. So for the short pieces, I want you to run as fast as you can, and then the easy bits are going to be a really easy jog recovery, because you’re gonna need
that for the variation. You could use a lamppost, and say they’re set at a set distance, you might even want to do
a distance of one, hard, and then actually double your recovery and do it as two so you can really concentrate on your speed. And this is a great type of fartlek for really increasing that
top end speed in your running. The key to a successful fartlek session is really having a distinct difference between your easy running and the efforts, and this will really help
to build up your endurance. It just mixes up the
intensities of your training. Some athletes don’t like
this type of freedom and actually prefer the structure that you get from a
coach or a training plan. However, to do this, you need to not worry about your average overall pace. In fact, actually running without a watch or without looking at it can even help when it comes to fartlek. As this type of training is
so fluid and unstructured, it’s a good idea to use
it in your preseason when you’re still building that base up. Although, having said that, I do actually sometimes mix this in when
I’m building up to a race, especially if I’ve got a little bit bogged down by numbers and I’m worried that I’m not running quite
as well as I should be. It’s sometimes nice just
to go out for a run, not worry about the watch, and just pick the pace up
naturally when it feels good. And this can do a lot
for your race confidence, especially when you’re on a taper week. With fartlek being all
about speed and play, you can’t really go wrong by
adding it into your training so if you haven’t tried it before, why not go and give it a go,
and let us know how you get on in the comments section below. If you’ve enjoyed it, hit
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of any of this GTN kit. And if you’re interested in
improving your running cadence, we’ve made a video specifically on that which you can find just down here. And if you want a video to
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