5 Ways to Add Fartlek Training to Your Running Routine

5 Ways to Add Fartlek Training to Your Running Routine

5 Ways to Add Fartlek Training to Your Running Routine

Fartlek training can be the solution you're looking for if you want to switch up your running routine and add some excitement to your sessions!  You don't need to worry, we'll break everything down for you.

This fun and flexible routine method will make your routine more varied. It also helps you build your general running abilities, speed, and stamina. Regardless of your level of expertise, this training may be a valuable tool to improve your running efficiency.

Let's explore what fartlek workout is all about, its benefits, and how simple it is to include in your running routine.

What is Fartlek training?

Fartlek training, Swedish for "speed play," is an adaptable and unstructured running technique that alternates between intervals of different intensities. In contrast to standard running regimens, which have a set pace, virtuosity training allows runners to change their speed at any time during the workout.

Flexibility is the key to the appeal of fartlek exercise. Running is flexible enough to accommodate a range of fitness levels and objectives since runners may decide when and how to pick up or slow down their speed. This spontaneity reflects the variable nature of real-life running settings, such as races or outdoor terrain, and keeps sessions exciting.

During a fartlek running workout, slower walking or jogging (recovery) and quicker running (intervals) are usually alternated. Because the length and intensity of these intervals may be changed, runners can customise their routine to target different areas of their fitness, such as speed, endurance, or aerobic capacity.

Fartlek training is a fun and efficient approach to enhancing overall running performance. It encourages athletes to listen to their bodies and challenge themselves at their own pace.

Benefits of Fartlek Training

Don't be fooled by the playful name the fartlek training method packs a serious fitness punch. By incorporating bursts of speed and recovery jogs, this dynamic method offers a whole range of benefits for runners of all levels:

Improved Speed and Endurance

Fartlek running workout challenges your body to adapt to changing intensities. The faster bursts tax your anaerobic system, building your ability to sprint and maintain a higher pace. Conversely, the recovery jogs strengthen your aerobic system, allowing you to run longer distances without burning out.

Boosted VO2 Max

VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilise during exercise. With its high- and low-intensity efforts, Fartlek training pushes your body to work harder and process oxygen more efficiently, ultimately leading to a higher VO2 max and improved overall fitness.

Enhanced Race Tactics

Races rarely involve running at a constant pace. Fartlek training for beginners mimics the surges in speed you might encounter during a competition, like sprinting uphill or kicking for the finish line. This helps you develop race readiness and the ability to pace yourself strategically.

Mental Toughness

Fartlek training is both physically and mentally demanding. Pushing yourself through those faster sections builds mental grit and teaches you to push past discomfort. This translates to a stronger mind that can overcome challenges and maintain motivation during races or long runs.

Fun and Engaging

Unlike the repetitive nature of steady-paced runs, virtuosity routine injects a dose of fun and variety. The unstructured format keeps things interesting, making your runs more enjoyable and helping you stay motivated to stick with your training plan.

Top 5 Fartlek Workouts for Beginners

Getting started can seem daunting if you're new to this type of training. But fear not! Here are five methods of fartlek training for beginners to help you ease into this dynamic training method:

The Pyramid Workout

  • Start with a 5-minute warm-up jog at a leisurely pace.
  • Then, alternate between increasing and decreasing intervals of faster running. For example, run at a moderate pace for 1 minute, then increase the intensity for 2 minutes, then decrease back to the moderate pace for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern, gradually increasing and then decreasing the duration of the faster intervals.
  • Finish with a 5-minute cooldown jog to help your body recover.

The Time-Based Fartlek

  • Begin with a 10-minute warm-up jog at a comfortable pace.
  • Set a timer for your workout duration (e.g., 30 minutes).
  • During the workout, alternate between periods of faster running and slower recovery jogging. For example, run briskly for 2 minutes, then jog slowly for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern for the duration of the workout.
  • Conclude with a 5-minute cooldown jog to gradually lower your heart rate.

The Landmark Fartlek

  • Choose a route with various landmarks (e.g., trees, lamp posts, or benches).
  • Begin with a 5-minute warm-up jog.
  • Pick a landmark ahead as you run and increase your speed until you reach it. Once you reach the landmark, return to your regular pace until you reach the next landmark, and repeat.
  • Continue this pattern, alternating between faster and slower segments based on the distance between landmarks.
  • Cool down with a 5-minute easy jog.

The Hill Fartlek

  • Find a route that includes hills of varying inclines.
  • Start with a 10-minute warm-up jog on flat terrain.
  • As you approach a hill, increase your speed to tackle the incline, maintaining a steady effort level.
  • Once you reach the top, you can recover with a slower jog or walk down the hill.
  • Repeat this process for the duration of your run, incorporating different hills along the route.
  • Finish with a 5-minute cooldown jog to relax your muscles.

The Partner Fartlek

  • Grab a friend and head out for a joint virtuosity session.
  • Begin with a 5-minute warm-up jog together.
  • Decide on a signal (e.g., a whistle or a shout) to switch between fast and slow segments.
  • Alternate taking turns leading the workout, with one person choosing when to increase or decrease the pace.
  • Enjoy the camaraderie and motivation of training with a partner while challenging each other to push your limits.
  • Conclude with a 5-minute cooldown jog and celebrate your accomplishments together.


Fartlek training is a powerful tool for runners of all abilities. Its dynamic nature injects excitement into your routine, while simultaneously building speed, endurance, and mental toughness. By incorporating these fartlek workouts into your training plan, you'll be well on your way to achieving your running goals and experiencing the joy of a truly dynamic run. 

Remember to listen to your body and adjust the intensity of your workouts as needed. So lace up your shoes, embrace the "speed play," and get ready to take your running to the next level!


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