girl running trail

 

Looking for a way to improve your race times this season, but have never liked the track? Want to add some variety to your regular trail runs? You’re the perfect candidate to incorporate some fartlek training to your regular trail runs. Fartlek, roughly translated from its original Swedish, means “speed play.” These workouts can be as structured as you’d like – you can head out and do a few pick-ups with friends or keep track of mile repeats on your gps or foot-pod-equipped watch. Here are some fartlek workout suggestions that are sure to make your running more exciting this spring and should help you race faster this year, too.

1) FREE-FORM FARTLEK

These sets take the words “speed play” to heart – the workout is truly governed by how you feel. After a good warmup, you pick up the pace and intensity whenever you feel like it. Free-form workouts are best done with a group of runners who share the same level of fitness and ability – you will keep each other honest by making sure there isn’t too much time in between hard efforts and ensuring those hard efforts are hard enough.

2) TIMED FARTLEK

There’s no limit when it comes to setting up these workouts, especially now that so many watches allow you to set a variety of timers. The timed workouts should be organized based on your goals and training needs at various stages of your training program.

  • As you’re building your fitness level in the early part of the year, you’ll want to emphasize what I call your strength and aerobic fitness with intervals of between three and eight minutes and give yourself about half the time of the interval as a recovery.
  • Later in the year, if you have some races planned, you’ll want to emphasize anaerobic threshold training, which helps you develop the ability to hold your heart rate at a higher level for longer periods of time. If you’re trying to develop speed, you should do some shorter intervals with longer recovery times.
  • Finally, as you get close to your “A” race of the year, you’ll want to test your fitness with some longer intervals with short recoveries done at your goal race pace.

3) DISTANCE FARTLEK

Use either a gps or foot-pod equipped watch to set up a fartlek workout along the trails, based completely on distance. Follow the same format as the workouts above, but substitute specific distances instead of the times. You could, for example, do a set of mile repeats with a 400m jog recovery.

Here are a few of my favourite timed fartleks based on the workout phases above. Do a 10–15-minute warmup and 5–10-minute cool-down before and after each set (MRI= Minutes Rest Interval, SRI= Seconds Rest Interval):

Here are a few of my favourite timed fartleks based on the workout phases above. Do a 10–15-minute warmup and 5–10-minute cool-down before and after each set (MRI= Minutes Rest Interval, SRI= Seconds Rest Interval):

Strength / Aerobic sets

1. 3–5x3min/2MRI
2. 3–5x4min/2MRI
3. 3–4x6min/3MRI

Anaerobic Threshold sets

1. 8×1:30/30SRI
2. 5–8x2min/1MRI
3. 4–6x3min/1MRI

Speed sets

1. 10 x 30 seconds / 1:30 RI
2. 5x1min/3MRI
3. 6–8 x 45 seconds / 2:15 RI

Peaking workouts

1. 2×10–15minat
goal race pace / 5 MRI
2. 3x10minat
goal race pace / 5 MRI

 

By Kevin Mckinnon

Report error or omission

Related

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *