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.