People who want to get in shape often think they know exactly how to do it. They know exactly what exercises should be done and exactly what time frame they should follow. However, following a particular workout routine doesn’t guarantee you will see results. Many people end up getting injured while following the routine. 

It can be easy to fall into a rut with your running and sometimes, it just needs a little spicing up. Fartlek workout is a great way to do this. Fartlek (pronounced fel-TOWK) is a running workout created by NFT Media. 

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Evolution of concept

It has since evolved into an online community where you can connect with other like-minded individuals and compete for prizes, glory, and usually a little bit of time on your day off. The debut episode of  “How To Do Everything” was created by Jack Canfield in 2008 as a way to relieve stress while living in California. 

At the time, he wasn’t even aware of the viral nature of his creation—until it eventually reached the front page of Reddit and Gawker. Fartlek workout is a way to lose weight and get in shape without lifting heavy weights or using expensive machines. 

It’s also an effective form of exercise for people who are interested in improving their stamina but who lack a dedicated gym membership. You can use the method of jumping up and down on your feet, or by doing various lunges and performing various other bodily movements that discredit any fitness center’s workout program.

Fartlek workout

Doing all of your run training at one pace will result in a performance plateau. And it is easy to think that if you’ve got a set distance you’re targeting if you continue to practice running that distance as hard as you can, you will get better. 

Well, doing time trials regularly will help, but only if they’re interspersed with other training. You’ll be pleased to hear that easy running is just as important as the harder, fast stuff, as well as those paces in between. 

Variety is the key here, and this is where fartlek workout comes in. You’ve probably heard of speed work or interval sessions. That’s pretty much what fartlek is. It’s a Swedish word meaning speed play. So that translates as a freestyle type of interval session. 

It’s where within your run you change the pace as dictated by the natural environment as opposed to running to your watch. And this is a great refresher for the body and the mind. You still get that same physiological benefit but you’re not gonna be a slave to the numbers. 

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Fartlek run workout 

The beauty of this type of session is the fact that you don’t need a strict or specific plan. Having said that, though, I’ve got a couple of suggestions just to help you get started. So a good starting point will be a 40-minute run and then break that down as a 10-minute warm-up, 20 minutes of Fartlek running, followed by a 10 minute warm down. 

Depending on what terrain you’re running on, you’re going to find certain landmarks along your way. Doesn’t matter what they are. Could be lampposts, trees, significant buildings, or even road signs.  

Anything that catches your eye and that gives you that natural reason to change your pace. And if you’re someone that likes to run with music, and you can use this on a treadmill as well, you can use the chorus of the song to run at an intense level, and then do your recovery on the verses. 

But you might just want to choose your playlist wisely for this. Just as the distances are flexible, so are the intensities. So for this example, I’m just gonna keep it to a 30-minute run consisting of a 10 minute warm-up, 15 minutes of Fartlek, and then a five-minute warm down. 

For the short pieces, run as fast as you can, and then the easy bits are going to be a really easy jog recovery, because you’re gonna need that for the variation. You could use a lamppost, and say they’re set at a set distance, you might even want to do a distance of one, hard, and then actually double your recovery and do it as two so you can concentrate on your speed. 

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Fartlek workout treadmill

This is a great type of fartlek workout for really increasing that top-end speed in your running. The key to a successful fartlek session is having a distinct difference between your easy running and the efforts, and this will help to build up your endurance. 

It just mixes up the intensities of your training. Some athletes don’t like this type of freedom and prefer the structure that you get from a coach or a training plan. However, to do this, you need to not worry about your average overall pace. 

Running without a watch or without looking at it can even help when it comes to fartlek. As this type of training is so fluid and unstructured, it’s a good idea to use it in your preseason when you’re still building that base up. 

It’s sometimes nice just to go out for a run, not worry about the watch, and just pick the pace up naturally when it feels good. And this can do a lot for your race confidence, especially when you’re on a taper week. 


With fartlek being all about speed and play, you can’t go wrong by adding it into your training so if you haven’t tried it before, why not go and give it a go. Follow this protocol and you’re guaranteed to impress anyone with your ability to move your body quickly and efficiently without any signs of pain!

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