If you fancy a change from your training routine, Fartlek training makes a great alternative to normal road running.
What is Fartlek training?
The word â€˜Fartlekâ€™ comes from the Swedish meaning â€˜speed playâ€™ and Fartlek training is just that â€“ rather than running a set distance in a set time, you â€˜playâ€™ with different running paces and distances until you feel youâ€™ve completed the workout.
Hereâ€™s an example of how it works. Remember to warm up before you start and approach the session with an open mind. Try to avoiding putting a time or distance limit on the session before you start.
Jog gently for 5 minutes then pick a landmark in the distance to aim for and a running pace. For example, this could be the next lamppost in your view, and you decide to run at 70% of your maximum speed until you reach it.
Run towards the landmark at the pace youâ€™ve decided and when you reach your target, start jogging again until youâ€™re ready for the next burst of speed.
Pick a new landmark and running pace, but make sure theyâ€™re different from the previous one. For example, you now decide to run to the end of the street at 90% of your maximum speed.
Keep completing these varying distances and speeds with gentle jogging in between. End the session when you feel youâ€™ve done enough and had a thorough work out.
What are the benefits of Fartlek training?
Training without an overall time or distance to work towards will feel strange for a lot of runners, but itâ€™s these differences that give Fartlek training its unique benefits. Hereâ€™s how Fartlek training could boost your fitness for the Virgin Money London Marathon:
- Itâ€™s a great test of strength and endurance.
- Itâ€™s great for improving your speed running and race tactics.
- Thereâ€™s lots of flexibility within the workout so you can adjust it to your chosen level. Keep it low intensity if youâ€™re taperingÂ or recovering. Make it high intensity if you want to push yourself.
- Rather than a set time or distance, your body is the deciding factor in when the workout is complete. This means youâ€™re less likely to stop too soon, or go too far and risk overtraining.