Fartlek: How to train

What is fartlek? and how do you train? Let’s take stock to explain it better.

1. What is FARTLEK?

FARTLEK is a Swedish term that literally means “speed play” and, in a nutshell, is a type of cardiovascular training: a middle ground between traditional continuous aerobic training and interval training.

How is the training organised?

As runners or triathletes, we tend to live the winter period as a transitional phase from autumn to spring, when competitions start again. But it is precisely in the cold season that we must invest for the future: it is essential now to build a good aerobic and muscular base for the coming spring. It is a time to relax, let go of the mile references and think about an “alternative” race that will lead us to achieve important physical and mental results.

2. Fartlek: the goals

In the colder months, we can organise our training with several FARTLEK sessions on mixed, hilly, dirt and natural trails that give us the opportunity to train to the maximum. No stress, no competition, total relaxation.

OK, but what are the benefits of fartlek?

1. IMPROVING OVERALL AEROBIC ENDURANCE: Aerobic endurance (the body’s ability to perform long duration activity in the presence of oxygen with an energy mix dominated by fat and sugar consumption) is critical for any discipline and any competitive distance. 

2. IMPROVING OVERALL MUSCLE STRENGTH: Long-term running requires good strength endurance. This period is essential to increase our overall muscle strength, running on mixed hilly, dirt and cross-country routes, and using fartlek as training.

3. PROPRIOCEPTION AND SENSITIVITY OF THE FEET: When we train on mixed routes, on rough terrain, where we use changes of pace and inclines, it is almost automatic to achieve improvements in technique.

3. How to organise training sessions

First of all, it is necessary not to overdo it. It is also important to remember that after a fartlek session, our body will take longer to recover. Our advice is to include one fartlek training session per week.

Here are two examples of fartlek training.

The original Swedish fartlek, which is the most suitable for those who want to leave the phone at home while training, to focus only on their body.
Example: run 15 minutes at 75% of your maximum heart rate, 40 meters sprint, 5 minutes at 60%, 3 minutes uphill at 85%, 2 minutes downhill at 65% and 1.5 minutes at 90%, and so on. Then, perform a cool down phase at 60% (HR Zone 1).

In Polish fartlek, on the other hand, changes of pace are planned in advance. This form of training may resemble repetition training.
Example: run 2 minutes at 85% of your maximum heart rate, then 4 minutes at 60%, 3 minutes at 85%, 6 minutes at 60%, 4 minutes at 85%, 8 minutes at 60%, 3 minutes at 85%, 6 minutes at 60%, 2 minutes at 85%.

Find out more at www.deporvillage.net

Stefano Francescutti

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Fartlek: How to train
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Fartlek: How to train What is fartlek? and how do you train? Let's take stock to explain it better. 1. What is FARTLEK? FARTLEK is a Swedish term that literally means "speed play" and, in a nutshell, is a type of cardiovascular tr …
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DeporVillage
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Fartlek: How to train

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