10k Training: What are Fartleks?

The 10k Race is only 12 days away and I’m pushing to try to increase my speed. I have a few things working aginst me though. Months of distance training for my 1/2 marathon and hot humid runds. Blah! Anyway, as I was doing research the most consistant thing I saw for building speed were Fartleks.  Unlike Tempo Runs the definition for fartleks is consistant across the board.

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed can be varied whenever the athlete wishes. ~Wikipedia

So what does a Fartlek work out look like? Any sort of interval training really. Start with a base pace, something you can maintain fairly easily and then add burst of speed. This can be anything from I’m going to run to that next light pole as fast as I can to I’m going to run the next 1/4 mile in x minutes.  Here is an example of one of my Fartlek trainings:


1 mile @ 8:26


1/4 mile @ 9:00 (2:15) min mile pace

1/4 Mile @10:00 (2:30) min mile pace

Repeat for 2.5 miles


1 mile @ 9:51!!!

Total 4.5 miles in 41:52 an average of 9:18 per mile.

I actually really liked these, they are also good for endurance training so I think they will become a regular part of my workouts.

One thought on “10k Training: What are Fartleks?

  1. LOVE fartleks!! I’m a terrible runner, but these were doable although tough AND it got me in the best shape I’ve ever been in. Our coach would have us do sets of (run, jog, run, jog, run) with 2 minute walks in between. She would start with like 30 seconds on (run), 30 seconds off (jog). Then the next week she would up it to 35 seconds. I need to be doing these again.

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