Best Fartlek Run to Boost Your Running Performance

fartlek run
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When you start running and been following a training plan, you’ll surely read through or come across the term Fartlek. And if you are wondering what it means, then you are not alone.

Fartlek is a Swedish term which means “speed play,” is a type of running workout that is effective in improving your running speed and endurance.

Fartlek run basically involves varying your pace throughout the run, varying between fast runs and active recovery jog. It is sometimes confused with other type of running workout such as the tempo run.

You’d be surprised that Fartlek run is one of the best way to boost your running performance, let’s dive deeper about it.

What is Fartlek?

Fartlek run is a type of training method that is unstructured without requiring the use of specific timed or measured segments.

With Fartlek training, you can “play around” with your pace and distance while experimenting with different pace to challenge yourself.

The fast run isn’t an all-out sprint, but fast enough that you can sustain the pace without being too tired. And the slow run is meant to recover yourself before the next fast run.

Fartlek is special in the sense that you technically never stop running until you are done with your training.

If you need to stop while doing Fartlek, it means you are running too fast and pushing yourself too much.

In comparison, interval run training consist of fast running with a complete stop for recovery between bouts of fast running.

Why You Should Do Fartlek Run?

In the simplest sense, to run fast, you need to run fast. Running fast blindly won’t be of much help, this is where Fartlek runs can help you.

The varying fast and slow pace teaches you and your body how it feels when you are running faster and to recover quickly without stopping. Amazing aite?

fartlek run

Fartlek training is especially effective and an enjoyable run for beginners because it involves speed work without being too demanding or exhausting.

Fartlek run is great to help you understand the effort, intensity and pace while you are running without relying on the data from your watch/phone.

This is an important skill to master when running longer distances such as the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon.

Fartlek is a also great way to help improve your running speed and endurance which will eventually boost your running performance.

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How You Can Do Fartlek Training?

The best and simplest way to do Fartlek is to incorporate short bouts of fast running while you are jogging. For example, try fast running for 30 seconds for every 2 mins of jogging.

Besides, Fartlek run can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. This is the plus point of being unstructured training.

If you aren’t used to running specific timed segments, then you can try to run to certain landmarks/guides such as run fast to that tree or lamp post.

Once you have completed the fast segment, return to your normal running pace or slow down to jogging (don’t walk or stop) and repeat when you are ready for the next fast bout.

Fartlek is not all about hitting a certain time or pace during your run, but it is a great way to stay motivated while challenging yourself and getting to know the pace of running quicker.

Different Ways To Do Fartlek Run

Fartlek run can be structured or unstructured, you determine the style of Fartlek you want to do.

For example, “run fast to the tree, jog to the next lamp post, accelerate, jog to the intersection, run quickly around the block” versus “run 3-4-4-5-6 minutes faster with 2 minutes jogging recovery.”

fartlek run

If you want to do a systematic and structured Fartlek, then head over to the nearby track. At the track, you can set specific distance or duration to run.

If you run around your neighbourhood, you can use lamp post, cars, trees for fast and slow segments.

Want some extra challenge? Then you can do Fartlek on the hill and you will feel the extra burn. Hill runs are extremely effective to improve your cardio, speed and strength.

No matter what way and/or how you want to do your Fartlek runs, it is crucial to start with the lowest volume and intensity to reduce the risk of pain and injuries.

In a nutshell, Fartlek is highly beneficial, convenient and can be done anywhere.

Benefits of Fartlek Run

  • Fartlek trains your body and mind to be more resilient and it improves your mental strength.
  • Improve your running speed and endurance.
  • Helps you understand quicker running pace, thus you can develop race tactics.
  • Teaches the body to recover quickly to ‘kick’ during your run.
  • Convenient and can be done anywhere.
  • Especially great for beginners to improve their running performance.
  • A fun and enjoyable training routine.

Sample Fartlek Workout Routine

Fartlek run are meant to be fun and enjoyable, don’t stress yourself with the timer/pace. Just enjoy the workout and keep it simple.

If you can’t keep up with the sample workout routine, don’t worry about it, just alter it to your desire.

Just don’t push yourself until you hurt yourself.

Structured Fartlek Run Sample Workout Routine:

  • 10 mins warm up jog.
  • Fast 2 mins.
  • Jog 2 mins.
  • Fast 4 mins.
  • Jog 3 mins
  • Fast 3 mins.
  • Jog 5 mins.
  • Cool down.

Or another one here:

  • 10 mins warm up jog.
  • Fast 1 min.
  • Jog 2 mins.
  • Fast 2 mins.
  • Jog 1 min.
  • Repeat the Fartlek set 3 to 5 times.
  • Cooldown.

Unstructured Fartlek Run Sample Workout Routine:

  • 10 mins warm up jog.
  • Run fast to a tree.
  • Jog until you are recovered.
  • Run fast to another landmark.
  • Jog until you are recovered.
  • Run as many times until you are done.
  • Cooldown.

If you are new to running and find this confusing, I recommend you to check out our free 8-weeks training plan to help you go from couch to running 5k:

Are you ready to start training for the 5K?
Subscribe to receive a free 8-weeks training plan for you to go from couch to running 5K.
Includes email updates. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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