Fartlek Intervals

by VP

How should I run my fartlek intervals? I'm a slow runner in my 50s. I run easy miles slower than my marathon pace. So do I run my fartlek intervals at marathon pace or half marathon pace? Are there guidelines/rules for the pace and the duration of those intervals?

Nicole's reply:
Hi VP, thanks for your question.

Fartlek is the Swedish term for speed play. The idea behind fartlek training is that during your run you have moments of surging and slowing just like a tide ebbing and flowing. There are no set paces, times or heart rates to watch and basically you go by how you feel. They are a great way of challenging your body to do different speeds without the constraints of running a particular pace.

You shouldn't need to actually stop to recover between each fartlek as that would indicate that you are perhaps doing them too fast i.e. doing intervals. Your perceived effort during the fartlek should be around 7-9/10 with the recovery portion around 3-4/10.

In terms of how long a fartlek should be is up to you. You could try a a 15 minute warm up then do a 1 minute fartlek followed by a 3 minute recovery pace or you could aim to run to a landmark and then slow down for a bit before finding another landmark to run to. Repeat this as long as you wish or until you start to feel fatigued. Fartlek training is very flexible! I hope that helps.

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