Anne and Colin describe how you can run a Fartlek session and make sure you have fun!
What is a Fartlek session?
Fartlek means different things to different people and there are so many variations on Fartlek training out there.
In actual fact, Fartlek is a Swedish word that means ‘speed play’. It was invented by a coach in Sweden during the second world war. This coach was training two top runners who broke the world record for the mile. He sent them off into the woods on one of their recovery days. He told them to have a bit of fun playing with speed and the Fartlek was born.
Today the term Fartlek has been taken over by the ‘hard work brigade’ and turned into interval training for the road or trail. These sessions often consist of hard efforts with little recovery. They are very far removed from a bit of speed play in the woods!
Fartlek should be fun!
True Fartlek should be unstructured and fun. Instead of set intervals you simply run as you feel. This means putting in faster efforts whenever you want to. It should not be hard and you should not be tired afterwards.
As soon as you get out of breath stop.
Don’t go fast again until you feel like it.
If you want to walk do so.
Have fun and don’t put yourself under pressure.
How to run a ‘Fun Fartlek’
Warm up with a five minute walk, then ten minutes or more of Chatty running.
When you feel like it add faster efforts:
1. Ten second sparkles
2. Longer ‘breathy’ efforts of around one minute.
‘Breathy’ running should not feel hard. You should still be able to talk in a sentence but it’s not comfortable. You will have to take a big breath at the end!
When running at ‘breathy pace’ it becomes hard work or you start to get out of breath, stop. Have a walk break before you set off at Chatty pace again.
You can have as much recovery as you like between your Sparkles or ‘breathy efforts’. Listen to your body and when you feel like speeding up again go for it!
The first time you try a Fun Fartlek don’t try to put too many efforts in. Four Sparkles and a couple of breathy efforts will be enough. Over time you will find that you can make the breathy efforts longer or more frequent.
Do the Victory Pose!
Standing still for a second and doing the Victory pose before your faster efforts, will make you feel good and get your endorphins (feel good hormones) going! When you drop your hands ready to run you will be in the perfect position to run, with your shoulders directly over your hips.
Don’t forget to do a victory pose at the end of your Fun Fartlek too, to celebrate your run!
How does a Fun Fartlek make you faster?
Running a Fartlek and learning to control your paces helps you become a ‘feeling based’ runner. Being able to listen to your body and knowing when it has had enough is the key to not over training.
Running a Fartlek also gets your body used to running faster in short bursts that will not tire you out. You will be developing your running muscles, along with the tendons and ligaments, so that they adapt to faster paced running.
How to Run Faster over 5km
We have shown you that you don’t need to do hard training to improve your 5km time.
In the second video we showed you how you can make small changes to your training to help you run faster over 5km. You can add a little bit of faster running, for example, a Fun Fartlek session.
Don’t be in Rush to Add Faster Running to your Week
Beginners can stay Chatty and improve week after week, even month after month.
If you are improving and you are running Chatty, don’t change what you are doing.
It’s the amount of Chatty running you do not the speed you run at that will make you a better runner.