Try Fartlek Training for a Twist in Your Running Speed Work

runningRunning Fartlek

Many runners are looking for new ways to spice up their workouts. One great way to add a twist to your longer runs is with a technique called fartlek. Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.” In this post we’ll discuss what it means to fartlek run as well as provide a few sample workouts you can use in practice.

Fartlek running is quite simple but very effective. Basically what you do is run at a normal tempo for a set duration of time and then increase the pace to a speed where you’re close to your lactic threshold or even above it. Generally fartlek runs are longer, usually 30 minutes or more in length, and incorporate 8+ accelerations. The beauty of the fartlek run is that you don’t have to map out any distances, you can either go by time or by feel. If you decide to go with time then a great workout to start with is 40 minutes long and after every four minutes you go hard for one minute.

The workout will look something like this:

 Total duration:    5 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes 20 minutes 25 minutes 30 minutes 35 minutes 40 minutes
Intervals in minutes: 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard 4 light 1 hard

If you decide to go by feel then you can run a familiar route and count telephone poles. Fartlek ran in this fashion will look something like 10 telephone poles light, 3 poles hard, 10 poles light, 5 hard, etc. And you don’t have to stop there, there’s a million different ways you can run fartlek, use your imagination and see if you can come up with something new each week. Not only will it spice up your training but doing a totally new workout each week causes you to use different muscles and stress your systems in various ways making your chances of improving that much greater.

Share with us your favorite fartlek training.

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