What Are the Best Tips for Fartlek Training?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Athletes may add fartlek training to their workouts, particularly if they want to become faster and stronger runners. A person engaged in fartlek training will change his or her pace from slow shuffle to a fast, sprint-like run several times during the course of a run. Some tips to help people complete fartlek training effectively include ways to prevent boredom, how to know the body has recovered during the slow portion of the fartlek, and determining how often a runner should include these training aids in his or her schedule.

Fartlek training mixes sprints with slower jogs.
Fartlek training mixes sprints with slower jogs.

Many people complain of boredom when they are attempting fartlek training. Typically, this is because they feel that they must run on a sports track or a treadmill; this is not the case, however. One tip is to realize fartlek workouts can be completed on any type of course, making them more relaxed and involving more creativity than other forms of speed training. For example, a person could run in his or her neighborhood and increase the pace from one block to the next. In the alternative, a trail runner may increase his or her speed sprinting from one rocky boulder to a giant pine tree at the top of a hill.

Fartlek training can be useful for football players who want to become faster and stronger runners.
Fartlek training can be useful for football players who want to become faster and stronger runners.

Another tip for fartlek training is for people who want to run faster in races. Typically, those individuals should include this form of training in their workouts after they have built up most of their endurance for completing their race distances. For example, most runners will find fartlek workouts to be essential during the last five to six weeks of training before a race. Generally, this form of training should be done weekly. If a person trains more frequently, it may increase his or her risk of injury and detract from distance training.

Listening to the rhythm of the body when the pace slows down is another helpful tip for many people engaged in fartlek training. Specifically, during the slow portion of the interval, the runner should have a regular heart rate and normal breathing. After his or her body adjusts to the slower pace, then the pace may be quickened again.

Many people need tips on how frequent and how long the speed increases should be during fartlek training. In general, a beginner should aim to increase his or her pace to a sprint approximately five times during the course of a run. More advanced runners may increase their pace a dozen times, or about once every three or four minutes. Beginners may only want to run at a fast pace for 15 seconds, while more advanced runners may hold their fastest pace for several minutes at a time.

Using the principles of fartlek training, runners can improve speed and strength by adding uphill runs to their workout.
Using the principles of fartlek training, runners can improve speed and strength by adding uphill runs to their workout.
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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