Fartlek is the Swedish word for “speedplay.” I LOVE Fartleks! Back in my days as a performance athlete – and even now when I feel like having some fun in a workout – I create a Fartlek for myself. Have fun with this workout and you will be surprised how hard you find yourself working.
If you have a group, take turns being the leader! Each leader decides how far to run for an interval or what exercise to do. Anything goes within the designated 25-40-minute workout time. Be creative! Short intervals of 20-30 seconds, or longer intervals up to 3-4-5 minutes as you feel. Include agility and strength exercises – everything from sit-ups to push-ups, high knee drills to ABC’s strength endurance, to running backwards and combinations there-of. Take a slow walk/run recovery in between your intervals and exercises as you feel.
For example: I’d suggest starting with an agility exercise (could be marching, side-to-sides, leg swings, lunges, butt kicks, karaoke cross-overs). Next, come up with a strength exercise (sit-ups, push-ups, planks, wall sits), and then running intervals of anywhere between 20 seconds to 3-5 minutes.
Try to think about variety and balance. Try not to do all sprints or only sit-ups and push-ups. Take yourself back to any gym class you may have had and come up with combinations of exercises and intervals as you feel.
Be careful not to work too hard! Make sure you take the recovery you need. In my experience people can be tougher on themselves than if I actually prescribe a set pattern to follow. Go to a field and simply use the field for exercises and intervals for the prescribed number of minutes and have fun! There is no right or wrong combination.
Tired legs? It is possible that at this stage you may feel a heaviness in your legs, as both the volume and intensity in the program have been increasing. This would be normal! That’s why with a Fartlek workout you can work as hard as you might feel, and the variety will actually help your body and brain to feel better. Know that although you may feel a little tired, your tiredness or heaviness is because you are reaching a new fitness level. Persevere through this and soon you’ll come out the other side. Your body is constantly adjusting to its new workloads and a training effect is taking place.
You're reaching a new place with your running!