Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.” A fartlek is an informal type of speed work. The idea is to sprinkle in bursts of speed while running.
A great way to integrate fartleks is in the easy run. Pick a point that is not too far ahead of you. It could be a lamp post, street sign, roadside tree or any stationary object a few hundred feet away. Pick up your pace and run hard towards that point. When you reach your destination resume your easy run pace until you feel recovered. Repeat the process with another landmark. Continue this for the rest of your run and then cool down for a mile or so.
On the treadmill you run the same way and increase your speed for short periods.
Fartleks improve your running because they teach you to run fast.
Working fartleks into your workout will break up the run and make it more enjoyable. it is recomended that you add fartleks to your run only once or twice a week.
I never did fartleks while I was injured or recovering from an injury. But I used to when I was healthy. I would run as fast as I could to the mailbox and then slow it back down. On the treadmill, I would turn it up and then turn it down. I added them to my runs just to mix it up.
Now that I am healthy (or close to it), I am thinking fartlek again. (Nothing feels so good as running fast and feeling like puking…only kidding!)
The real ME at the end of my race last Sunday. It was my fastest since since I think June 2011!!!
Happy Running! Do you do Fartleks?