Increase Speed and Endurance with Fartlek Training

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Looking for a workout that will increase speed and endurance?  Fartlek Training is a type of training that has been around since 1937 and was created by Swedish running coach, Gosta Holmer. The term Fartlek means speed play in Swedish. What is most intriguing about Fartlek is its similarity to interval training while still having its own distinct qualities. It was originally designed as a program for cross-country runners who wanted to improve their speed and endurance. Almost any form of sport or athletic workout can benefit by incorporating Fartlek into a sporting event or individual workout.

Here are a few examples of how to include Fartlek training into your running sessions:

1st Example

1. 10 minutes of easy warm up run.
2. 1 minute hard fast run; 1 minute easy run.  Alternate hard and easy run 5 times.
3. 5 minutes easy run.
4. 1 minute hard fast run; 1 minute easy run. Alternate hard and easy run 5 times.
5. 10 minutes of easy cool down run.

2nd Example

1. 10 minutes of easy warm up run.
2. Look in the distance for a landmark about 1 minute away–run as hard and fast as
possible until reaching the landmark. In other words sprint!
3. Walk fast for 1 minute.
4. Repeat at least 10 times, three days a week.
5. Follow with 10 minutes of easy cool down run.

Note:  This form of training is used by some units in U.S. Army to help soldiers build endurance and become more disciplined. If it’s good enough for our troops, it’s good enough for me!

Written by Gale Compton who is a nationally certified fitness instructor.