3 Fartlek Workouts to Increase Pace

Goal: Stay Fit on Vacation

You're supposed to break from routine when you go on holiday, but if the thought of abandoning your runs completely is too much to bear, fartleks are the perfect solution. Throw in multiple efforts at a comfortably hard pace over a 20 to 30-minute run, and you'll not only increase your stamina and improve your conditioning, you'll also boost your calorie burn and torch those margaritas. (You don't have to scale back while on vacation, either—try these 5 Workouts You Can Do During Your Vacation.)

Playtime: After a five-minute warmup, pick up the pace until your breathing feels slightly labored and you can talk only in phrases. Hold this effort for three to six minutes, then return to a jog until you've recovered. Alternate like this for 20 to 30 minutes or as time allows. Finish with five minutes of jogging. If you're running on a treadmill, mix in some hills. On every other hard segment, raise the incline instead of increasing the pace. You'll reap the cardiovascular effects, plus gain the strength benefits of a hill workout.

Run Better: If you have a hilly race on tap, practice running fartleks on inclines to build strength and get used to shifting gears on the uphills and downhills.

More: How to Tackle Hill Training

Get Off Track

Coach Culpepper's weekly fartlek workouts for any distance:

Goal Distance: 5K and 10K


  • 8 to 12 x1 minute hard/1 minute easy
  • 6 to 8 x2 minutes moderately hard/2 minutes easy
  • Descending ladder: 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. Start at 10K pace and work down to 5K pace.
Goal Distance: Half and Full Marathon

  • 4 to 8 x 3 minutes moderately hard/2 minutes easy
  • 3 x 5 to 8 minutes comfortably hard with a 2-minute jog between each
  • 2 x 10 to 13 minutes at half-marathon effort with a 2-minute jog between each

More: 5 Tips for Your Fartlek Workouts

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