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Fartlek Training

Fartlek, developed in the 1930's, comes from the Swedish for 'Speed Play' and combines continuous and interval training. Fartlek allows the athlete to run at varying intensity levels over distances of their choice. This type of training stresses both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways.

Fartlek for Runners

The following are a selection of fartlek sessions:

Watson Fartlek

Suitable for 10k, 5k, 3k and cross country.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Stride hard for 4 minutes with 1 minute jog recovery - repeat 8 times
  • 10 minute cool down

Saltin Fartlek

Suitable for 1500m, 5k and 3k.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 6 times - Stride hard for 3 minutes with 1 minute jog run recovery
  • 10 minute cool down

Astrand Fartlek

Suitable for 800m.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times - Maximum effort for 75 seconds, 150 seconds jog/run, maximum effort for 60 seconds, 120 seconds jog run
  • 10 minute cool down

Gerschler Fartlek

Suitable for getting fit quickly when combined with steady running.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Repeat 3 times - Stride hard for 30 seconds, jog 90 seconds. Repeat with 15 second decreases in recovery jog e.g. 30-90, 30-75, 30-60, 30-45, 30-30, 30-15 and 30-15-30
  • 10 minute cool down

Hill Fartlek

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • Select a 2 mile hilly course. Repeat 3 times - Run hard up all hills twice before moving to the next hill, jog run between hills
  • 10 minute cool down

Whistle Fartlek

The coach, using a whistle, controls the session over a 800 metre circumference grass area.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • When the whistle is blown the athletes run hard until the whistle is blown again. Pyramid session of 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes with a 60 second jog run recovery between each run
  • 10 minute cool down

Fartlek for games players

A fartlek session for games players should include sprinting, running, jogging and walking with variations in direction of movement to fit in with the demands of their sport. This should include controlling an object (e.g. football) or carry any implement (e.g. hockey stick, rugby ball) used in the sport.

Associated References

  • KURZ, M. J. et al. (2000) The relationship of training methods in NCAA Division I cross-country runners and 10,000-meter performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 14 (2), p. 196-201
  • ERIKSSON, P., and STEADWARD, R. D. (1990) Training Methods for High Performance Disabled Athletes. In Adapted Physical Activity (p. 119-124). Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1998) Fartlek Training [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/fartlek.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: