What is Fartlek training?

‘Fartlek’ is a Swedish term meaning ‘speed play’. The fartlek technique involves alternating segments of fast and slow jogging, though it can be applied to other fitness routines too.

a runner using fartlek training

How does Fartlek training work?

Unlike other workouts, Fartlek isn’t based on timed exercises. You can choose to speed up or slow down whenever you want – which makes it great for beginners. Fartlek training also doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is yourself, and a marker to help you know when to speed up. You can really have fun with this bit: jogging faster every time your music shifts to the chorus, every time you pass a lamppost…or our personal favourite, speeding up every time you see a dog!

Is Fartlek training hard?

If you’re thinking Fartlek training doesn’t sound too disciplined, you’d be right. Fartlek training is flexible, and whether you’re in the gym or out in the park, it can break you out of a fitness rut. If that wasn’t enough, Fartlek training has all the health benefits of interval training without the physical demands, with the afterburn effect helping you to burn more calories and increase your speed.

Fartlek training might sound like a dream, but it does require a bit more motivation on your part to make sure you aren’t giving yourself too many breaks. Setting yourself achievable targets, like having done 15 high-speed intervals during a 30-minute run, can help you focus.

Whatever way you choose to do Fartlek training, it might just put the fun back into your fitness routine.