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Wednesday Short Endurance Workout: The Fartlek

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I know the name alone will get your attention. After you stop giggling about the name, let's get serious while we explore the benefits of this type of training.

Fartlek is a Swedish term that means "speed play". Fartlek training is like interval training without rest periods. A typical training session lasts at least 45 minutes and you decide the intensity level. You do not stop and rest in between. You keep moving at lower intensity levels after high intensity efforts. For example, a runner devises a routine to work on speed training. After a warm up, the runner might do the following exercises:

Run 1 mile at a normal pace
Sprint 300 meters
Walk briskly 400 meters
Run 1/2 mile at normal pace
Sprint up a 600-800 meter hill
Walk briskly down the hill
Then the runner would repeat this routine until they have reached 45 mins or longer to begin their cool down.

Fartlek training allows the individual to tailor the workout based on their own needs while increasing their aerobic and anaerobic capacity. This is not limited to running only. You can do fartlek training for almost any exercise, including strength training and sports.

Workout Description
*5-10 min warm up and stretch
*1/2 mile run at normal pace
*400 meter sprint
*800 meter brisk walk
*1/2 mile run at normal pace
*200-300 meter sprint up a hill
*200-300 meter walk down the hill
*5-10 min cool down and stretch after repeated
Repeat the routine at least 2-3x's (If you are a beginner, try one time first)

What You Will Need
*Comfortable/supportive pair of athletic shoes (running shoes are best)
*Comfortable/breathable clothes (nothing restrictive/layer for weather conditions)
*Small bottle of water if need during run (sip only not to create a side cramp)
*Watch or Smart Phone to track time, pace, and course
*Music (for safety, keep the volume down to be aware of your surroundings or only put an ear bud in one ear)
*Journal to track your progress
*Find a place to run (neighborhood, park, trail, treadmill)
*Please run in a safe area and avoid running in the dark unless you have a partner or proper safety lights and a vest

App Suggestions
*Cardio Trainer for Android phones (Noom Fitness)
*Runtastic for iPhone
*Map My Run (map a course nearby)

Please consult your doctor before attempting any exercise beyond your level of physical ability, or if you're pregnant. Remember you are doing these workouts at your own risk.
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