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What is a Fartlek Run?

Girl running a Fartlek Run

Fartlek comes for the Swedish for ‘Speed Play’, which is an accurate description of what the run is. You are playing with your speed. By running at different speeds for different lengths of time you keep your training very playful. The great thing is that you can do these sort of runs anywhere you want, you don’t have to be running on a track and you don’t need any trackers or even anything to time your run. It’s just you on your run.

So how does a Fartlek run work? You warm up for about 10 minutes by running at a regular pace, once you are warmed up you pick something in the distance to run to. You speed up your pace until you get to the landmark you picked to run to. When you get there you pick another landmark and you run to that at a slow pace to recover. Don’t walk or stop, the important thing is that you have to keep running. You will recover while you are still moving and by the time you get to the landmark you picked you should be recovered well enough to speed it up again and run to the next landmark you pick.

Repeat this about five times and cool down for about 10 minutes. The more times you do this the better you’ll get at it. You can run longer stretches and do more reps and build it up to 10 times. Play around with the distance you run, have fun with it.

When I first started running Fartlek runs I noticed that very quickly I got better at it. After only going out twice I could notice improvement already, which was very motivating for my training and kept me wanting to run more Fartlek runs. It’s a great motivational tool, it’s great for your speed and your endurance. Plus they never get boring, cause they change every time, just mix up where you run and what you run to and you will see your training will improve in no time.


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