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The Definition of Fartlek Training

Derived from the Swedish term that means ‘Speed Play’, fartlek can provide an excellent endurance and strength session, as well as help improve your speed and race awareness. Fart=speed and lek=play

Fartlek Training Definition

Fartlek - Speed PlayThe use of ‘fartlek’ came about to provide a less structured approach to that of interval training. Its origins and use were developed in the 1930’s. Whereas, in interval training the structure prescribes a given distance run in a given time with a given rest, fartlek’s approach is to have you run at a given time, 2 minutes for example over undulating terrain or flat wherever your run may take you. The effort prescribed can be at 10k race pace to whatever speed you wish to make your effort. The rest in-between is normally at an easy pace to allow recovery before the next effort.

The intensity, duration and terrain is determined by the runner. Fartlek can be used on all terrains, even on a track surface.

The session is known to stress both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways. Fartlek has grown into a popular method of training used by runners to provide an enjoyable and constructive alternative to simply pounding the streets with no purpose and plan.

Fartlek – speed play, is essentially a training session that comprises some speed [effort] change and at the same time as enjoying the session. It is similar but unlike interval training. Interval training is more disciplined and precise in it’s training goal. Fartlek is not as demanding and can be incorporated to suit one’s needs.

Further articles under the Fartlek method:

with more to follow

Author: Gavin Doyle


  1. Katherine Burchell says

    I am going to do swimming using this method. I have a distance goal of 250 km for 3 months. I have a fitness goal of – don’t know. I am going to improve in a vague way.
    Do you have better idea?

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