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SPEED PLAY - FARTLEK

Updated: Feb 22

As discussed in previous articles, speed work can help all runners improve running economy.


After a few weeks of adding strides or cut downs to your otherwise easy and long runs, you can replace some of these workouts with longer fartlek intervals at 5K to 10K effort.


These should start organically, as the name Fartlek suggests. Fartlek is Swedish for speed play, so they should be fun and not overly regimented.


After working your way into a comfortable, sustainable pace / effort, start surging @ 5K – 10K effort up or down a hill that you are running or from one landmark to the next. Rather than stopping and jogging after 20-30 seconds of intense running as you would with strides, continue to push for up to a minute. Then return to your comfortable / easy run pace.


Run easy until you catch your breath and then repeat. Do this 6-8 times on one run a week until you feel like you need more. Then add a few more ~ 1 minute harder efforts. Once those feel manageable, increase the duration of the harder efforts or decrease the duration of the rest intervals.


Remember, these don’t have to be overly measured or quantified. The goal is simply to gradually introduce harder efforts into the routine. If you’d prefer, rather than time you can use landmarks to measure the durations and distances of the hard and easy efforts. The goal is to gradually introduce the stimulus while still keeping them playful.


Keep your running as fun and playful as possible for as long as possible. If adding strides and a few fartlek intervals to a few rolling runs per week keeps you fit and having fun, then you are certainly doing something right.





SAMPLE FARTLEK WORKOUTS:


1). Warm Up for 15 – 30 minutes.

6 – 8 x 1 minute HARD (9/10 RPE) w/ 1 minute recovery jogs.

Cool Down for 15 – 30 minutes.


2) Warm Up for 15 – 30 minutes.

8 – 10 x 2 minutes HARD (8-9/10 RPE) w/ 2 minute recovery jogs.

Cool Down for 15 – 30 minutes.


3) Warm Up for 15 – 30 minutes.

5 – 6 x 3 minutes HARD (8/10 RPE) w/ 3 minute recovery jogs.

Cool Down for 15 – 30 minutes.


4) Warm Up for 15 – 30 minutes.

4 - 5 x 5 minutes COMFORTABLY HARD (7/10 RPE) w/ 5 minute recovery jogs.

Cool Down for 15 – 30 minutes.


5) Warm Up for 15 – 30 minutes.

3 – 4 x 8 minutes STEADY (6/10 RPE) w/ 5 minute recovery jogs.

Cool Down for 15 – 30 minutes.

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