Beat the Competition at Your Next Race With Fartlek Workouts

Slow/Fast 800s

  • Jog easy for 15 to 20 minutes, and complete any dynamic stretches and strides you need to warm up
  • Run 6 to 8 x 800 meters, but alternate the pace of each 400. The first 400 can be run at your tempo run pace or slightly slower, but the second 400 should be completed at 3K pace
  • Jog easy for 400 meters between each interval
  • Finish with 10 to 20 minutes of easy jogging plus stretching for a cooldown

To make this workout more advanced, complete the 800 meters continuously for 4 miles, starting with the "slow" 400. Focus on popping those hard 400s, but still keep the "slow" 400s faster than an easy or medium effort. Even the "slow" 400s will start to get tough by the end of the workout.

More: 6 Fartlek Workouts for 3 Training Phases

Move and Match

McMillan Elite coach and exercise physiologist Greg McMillan designed a workout called the "move and match," where a team or training partner can help add unpredictability to a workout, simulating what would happen in a race. Ask your runnning buddy to switch up the paces during your workout, and try to stick with him each time he surges.

Breaking your competition is part of racing, and one way to do that is to throw in a surge or multiple surges. Do it right, and you could put a gap on them, break them mentally, or at least tire them out. If you're used to surging, you'll be better able to handle it, and keep your race in control.

More: How to Train for a PR

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