Fartlek Training

Fartlek Training: A form of interval training developed by Swedish Olympic coach Gusta Holmer in the 1930's. Fartlek is a a Swedish word meaning "speed play" and Homer got the idea after observing the country's military training exercises, which used marches of varying paces.

It is a combination of interval training and long slow distance (continuous) training methods that does not use precise prescriptions but is instead unsystematic; done by 'feel'.

The exerciser determines the time periods of high intensity, rest intervals, and lower intensity blocks of training by subjective means. This is sometimes referred to as 'natural intervals' but long and medium distance runs can be combined with sprints, hill repeats, tempo runs, etc.

Usually in an outdoor, hilly environments, running is done at fast and slow speeds, on flat and hilly terrain. Great for general conditioning and for variety and fun, the lack of scientific preciseness is made up for by the freedom and enthusiasm this type of training entails.

A lack of boredom for distance runners is one of it's main advantages and Fartlek training should be considered an excellent fitness pursuit for those looking to increase physical conditioning while doing something outdoors that is less regimented and easy to initiate, not requiring a partner or complicated equipment. It can also be used to provide variety to an otherwise highly regimented training schedule.

Running on hilly and uneven surfaces can present challenges and injury risks, especially to those with unstable ankles, so caution should be taken. However, although the surfaces may be uneven, running on soft surfaces can be easier on the joints, in the long run, than continual running on hard, paved surfaces. Serious athletes may wish to use Fartlek in a more regimented way, with more precise time intervals of fast to slow running.

1. Glover, Bob, Shelly-lynn Florence. Glover, and Bob Glover. The Competitive Runner's Handbook: The Bestselling Guide to Running 5Ks through Marathons. New York: Penguin, 1999. Print.

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This page created 25 Oct 2011 14:04
Last updated 21 Jul 2016 22:16

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