A fartlek is a type of outdoor training that means "speed play" in Swedish. The purpose of this type of training is to increase a runner's speed and endurance.Fartleks help the body withstand certain thresholds that are placed on it when added power, endurance or stamina are required. When the body needs to activate different energy systems, some individuals are not trained to withstand the lactic acid build up and thresholds placed on the body when added speed is needed for certain durations.
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When a runner begins a bout of Fartlek training, he or she will do very intense sprints followed by bouts of normal running pace, slow jogging or even a very slow recovery walk or run. By doing this type of training, it will challenge both the aerobic and anaerobic systems in the body, so the runner is able to adapt and overcome a variety of running tempos, terrain and road conditions. Below is a quick guideline to help with implementing this type of training in your individual or group runs.
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Fartlek Training Steps
1. It can be done anywhere. The best thing about this type of training is that it can be done anywhere. If you are by yourself or with a group, pick a location and go for it. You can do this in the city, running trails, sidewalks or even on a track.
2. Consider your running pace and time limits. The average runner will want to maintain a normal running pace for about five to seven minutes and then implement an intense 30-second sprint followed by a short recovery run/fast walk. If you want to step it up a notch, then you can either increase your normal run to a longer duration, increase your sprint time, or do both.
3. Consider how long you want to go. It is recommended that you do this type of training for a total of 45 to 60 minutes. Since you are incorporating running and sprinting, you are going to be very tired at the end of this exercise. The purpose is to challenge your aerobic and anaerobic systems, so make sure you choose a place that is fun, enjoyable and keeps you motivated.
4. You can go solo or do it with a group. Traditionally this is usually done with one person, but it is a blast to do this with a group of running friends. You can have your running friends pick a landmarks to sprint to. Then you can back off on your pace until someone else picks another landmark to spring to. This will keep it very interesting and a lot of fun. You will never know if you are going to do a fast walk, a super fast sprint or a casual run. The person picking the landmark will set the pace.
5. Consider how often you want to add Fartleks. You can incorporate Fartlek training at least once every two weeks, and this will help the individual or group get out of the habit of just doing regular duration or mileage runs. Whatever you choose, just get out there in the fresh open air and have fun.
The purpose of this type of training is to help runners develop awareness of their bodies to utilize their different energy systems efficiently and when needed. The great thing about this style of training is that it can be freeing because you can customize it to do whatever you want. You are not bound by a set structure. Then when you are in a race or when you need to bring on the speed, you'll be able to turn on the afterburners to get ahead and cross that finish line or break your goal time.race.