Farklek means "speed play" in Swedish (Fart=speed and lek=play.) Fartlek is a form of interval training, but instead of running specific distances at specific speeds, fartlek is unstructured. Fartlek can be a great way of starting interval training (see below).
1 How to fartlek
After warming up, start the fartlek by choosing a landmark and a pace. The landmark might be a tree, lamppost, or some other location. Ideally the landmark should be something you can see from where you are, but it could be "around the corner to the third lamppost." The pace is whatever pace you feel like running at. Once you reach the landmark, you choose another landmark and another pace. The pace could be faster or slower, depending on how you feel. Continue this pattern of choosing a landmark and pace until you are done with your workout. Completion of the farklek could be done by distance, time or by feel (you've had enough).
- Some people include skipping or running backwards into their fartlek.
- A group of runners can do fartlek, with each runner taking turns to choose the landmark and the pace. Care must be taken not to make this competitive!
- You can use the slope of hills as the landmarks, going faster up and easy down, or vice versa.
3 Starting Fartlek
Like any speed work or interval training, it is important to ease into fartlek. The first few sessions should be far easier than you feel you are capable of, and high intensity paces should be avoided at first. Give your body a chance to adjust to the faster running to avoid injury. See Safe Speedwork.