Posted by Chief run commuter on February 8, 2012 in Races, Training |

For those of you who think Fartlek is nothing but a rude play on words, be prepared to be introduced to a serious bit of training.   There’s no harm every now and then in mixing up your running into work with some variety runs.

By running into work at a steady canter, of course you’re doing yourself some good.  However, by doing this, you’ll really only ever be training yourself to run that distance well at a canter.

In other words, your body adapts and gets good at what its training to do.    So if you have a 10km race in 3 months time, a regular 10km run into work will prepare you well.

However, if you really want to involve some ‘bite’ with your training, you really should consider throwing in the occasional Fartlek.

A Fartlek is a Swedish word literally transferring into ”speed play”.    You might know it better as a form of interval training which develops the cardio system.   With a Fartlek, the speed of the run is varied in it’s intensity on a regular basis throughout your training session, thereby putting both your aerobic and anaerobic system under pressure.

Unlike other interval sessions, a Fartlek is mixed up and will keep your system on it’s toes.   So for example, a track session of running numerous 400m / 800m / 1600m patterns will force your system to adapt to that level training run.

A Fartlek can be anything from a 50m sprint at full tilt combined with 400m dashes and a high intensity 800m passage of your run.

A Fartlek session may last for approximately 45 minutes, but of course longer or shorter ones will benefit your system.

In a nutshell, sessions of Fartlek training will give your body the capacity to run further at a faster pace.  The best marathon runners in the world will incorporate some speed session into their training patterns and this will include a Fartlek.

If you want to run quicker long distance times, then a Fartlek will help with the aerobic capacity required to run distance at pace.

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