There are many advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training. However, to be fair you must first ask yourself what your goals are and if fartlek training is a method that can help you to accomplish them. Fartlek training is used by thousands upon thousands of athletes all over the world. And for good reason!
We all know that this training method is highly beneficial for nearly every type of athlete. Be that as it may, depending on youraspirations, this training protocol can bring light to numerous disadvantages that can greatly hinder your progress toward your goals as well. So, with that being said, the advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training are indeed relative.
What is fartlek training?
So, what is fartlek training anyway? Fartlek training, or “Speed play” as it’s also known, is a way of training in which you manipulate your running speed from walking to sprinting, and everything in between. These changes in tempo are comprised into intervals.
This allows for maximal efforts without burning yourself out too quickly. It can be done outside, inside, in a pool, or even on a bike. There’s virtually no limit on how you can experience the many fartlek training advantages available to you!
Now that you have a clearer understanding of what this technique is, let me explain to you of the many advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training!
The Importance of Knowing The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fartlek Training
Depending on what your goals are, there can be many advantages AND disadvantages of fartlek training. It’s very important to know why you are training, or what your goals are in order to see if fartlek training is the right fit for you or not.
Fartlek training can be virtually useless to you if your primary goal for training is to be great at the discus or to put on muscle mass. However, if you want to increase your VO2 Max, be able to endure longer bouts of exercise, lose fat, or just have a fun new cardio technique at your disposal, then this may be the training technique for you!
Below, I will briefly go over 6 advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training.
As I have previously stated, if your goals are to increase your stamina (whether for a sport, event, or just for better health), decrease body-fat, or to just try out a new type of cardio, then fartlek training can be a highly beneficial weapon in your arsenal of exercise choices.
- Increases stamina!: Besides the obvious of it being a type of cardio training, it also helps to increase your endurance due to the change in tempo which allows you to challenge your muscles in ways that traditional cardio sessions can’t.
- Burn off that fat!: Using fartlek training will greatly increase your caloric expenditure. Thus, assisting in fat loss. The real beauty with fartlek training is that as you fatigue yourself with heavy running or sprinting, you can simply change the tempo to a slight jog or fast walk in order to “rest” before you increase your speed again.
- Variety, variety, variety!: Most people don’t know about fartlek training, but once they do they realize what a highly effective and enjoyable experience this technique actually is! It can be beyond monotonous going through the same old cardio session day in and day out. Fartlek training is great for mixing things up and putting a new spin on your exercise sessions.
As great as fartlek training can be for your athletic ability and sports performance, it can also hinder you from your goals, depending on what your goals are of course.
- You can burn muscle: If performed intensely enough, fartlek training can break down your muscle tissue, just like with most intense types of cardio. If you don’t want this to happen, I would suggest that you simply decrease the frequency or duration of your sessions.
- Treadmill trouble: It can be very difficult to train with quick spurts of varying tempo while on a machine because your fingers would almost have to be glued to the resistance button on your treadmill machine in order to constantly switch from fast to slow. To combat this annoyance, I would suggest that you increase the duration of each speed you choose.
- Solo training: Given the way fartlek training is generally performed, it can be somewhat difficult to have a training partner along with you as you train with this technique. This is so because not only will the both of you (if not more people) have to be in sync with each other, you will also have to have similar stamina levels in order to be able to keep up with each other. I make these two points because there are usually variations of sprinting, running, jogging, and fast walking in fartlek training workouts. As long as you are all in sync with each other and are somewhat similar in stamina levels, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Conclusion of the advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training
Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training. As you can see, as with virtually all types of training, they all have their respective pros and cons. If your goals are in accordance with what fartlek training offers, then you will probably greatly benefit from this technique and want to learn more about how it can help you to accomplish your goals.
On the other hand, if you’re a power-lifter or a bodybuilder looking for a new technique to lose fat (and enjoy some fartlek training advantages along the way) all while trying to retain as muscle muscle mass as possible, this may or may not be the best type of cardio for you. It will depend on a plethora of different factors. Of course you can burn body-fat from fartlek training, but given its intense nature, it could be a problem for you if your primary goal is to retain or even grow muscle tissue.
All in all, with the advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training I have discussed, I hope that you will now be able to choose if this is the right training technique for you or not. Just take a look at your goals and you should easily find your answer.