Have you seen the term fartlek wandering around the internet when you're trying to figure out about different running workouts and you're wondering what the hell is that? Well, I'm Jesse Funk and on today's episode of Runner’s High, I'm going to share with you what a fartlek is and how you can use it in your training.
Fartlek is actually a Swedish term, which translates roughly to speed play. And if that's all you really need to know about what a fartlek is just hit that subscribe button there on the bottom right hand corner and you're good to go. But if you want to know a little bit more, stay with me here. The idea with a fartlek is that you get to use a lot of different speeds and tempos within the exact same run. So, you really get to work on a lot of your different speed abilities, and without setting up a specific structured track workout for each of these types of speeds.
Now, you can kind of think of it like when you were a kid on the playground you just ran around without a whole lot of thought to it. It can be as completely unstructured as that. And really when you were a kid, were you worried about like, I'm going this particular tempo or I'm going that particular tempo?
It's kind of an opportunity for you too to play, hence speed play, and kind of enjoy running again, reconnect with what you loved about running, and kind of refresh that if it's been a little while. And as my coach reminds me, diverse workouts make diverse athletes.
Meaning, you can deal with more diverse situations. So, when you spend more time doing things like a fartlek you're used to speed changes and pace changes within a race and able to handle then both physically and mentally so that things don't bother you as much.
One of my favorite structured fartlek sets and again, you can structure these however you want or not structure them at all and just kind of go out and change speeds for whatever kind of iteration you want to do.
But one of my favorite structured fartleks that we did in college we referred to as 30, 60, 90, which has to do with the times that you're running. So, you’d run fast for 30 seconds, easy for 30 seconds, fast for 60 seconds, easy for 60 seconds, fast for 90 seconds, and then you get a rest of three minutes before you repeat it. So, we go out for 10 to 12 mile run, and do six to eight reps of this set within the run.
The whole idea is that you can incorporate this speed play into a longer run and make that long run both about endurance but also about those speed changes for this workout. All this workout or at least how I thought about it was that I wanted to run as fast as I could for each section.
And that means consistently. So, every 30 seconds section should hopefully be the same speed and every 60 seconds, on and on and on. You don't want to die off within the interval or within the workout. And because you're doing that, it's also a mind game of pacing and figuring out how fast can I go 30 seconds, and also last five, six, however you set you decide you're going to do.
It's short enough that you can really put in some speed, but because of the duration of the entire run, in our case, 10 to 12 miles, you also couldn't just absolutely floor it, because you're gonna have to continue to run afterwards.
So, because of this, you have this mental aspect to the fartlek as well. If you pay attention to all these little things on all your different runs be it a fartlek, or intervals or long run, there's really a lot to running that isn't apparent on the surface, and maybe why a running race is kind of boring to watch for most people. They don't understand what's going on mentally, what's going on tactically.
But this is, at least to me, how you find more enjoyment within the sport, within running is to pay attention to all those tiny little things, trying to become the best version of you that you can be, the best runner that you can be. So, do you have any questions about running I haven't answered yet? Leave them in the comments below, let me know what do you want to know about running? What haven't you seen answered anywhere else? I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.