Fartlek Training Definition and History
If you want to know the true fartlek training definition then you’ve arrived at your destination. Fartlek training, or speed play, as it is also called originated in Sweden in the 1930’s. It didn’t take long before it boomed into the extremely popular training method used today all over the world, and for good reason!
Fartlek training is a combination of interval training and continuous training.
It works by having the runner switch up their running speed from slow to fast and everything in between. There are no set rules for this protocol other than the forgoing statement. Each interval will consist of a specific speed that you’ll maintain for a specified amount of time. After the time has elapsed, you’ll then switch up your tempo to a different speed. It’s actually a very simple training protocol. In fact, you may even already use fartlek training and have’t even realized it. Read on below for more nuggets of fartlek training definition wisdom and some actual fartlek training examples!
Fartlek training definition continued… (yea, there’s more)
So, you now know that the fartlek training definition is comprised of an exercise protocol in which you manipulate your running tempo to allow yourself to work harder or lighter during a single exercise bout. This awesome training protocol can be done outside, inside, in a pool, or even on a stationary bike.
Okay, so how about an example?
A basic fartlek training session could be done by running for 30 seconds, sprinting for 10 seconds, walking for 60 seconds, and then repeating the intervals for as many times as you desired. This manipulation of speed allows the runner to be able to not get too winded due to the changes in tempo. For example, if you trained at 90-100% of your VO2 max, you’d probably not last too long before reaching exhaustion.
This is what makes fartlek so efficient! It allows you to pace yourself better by transitioning through several sequences of varying tempos.
With this training protocol, you can really get creative. That’s another awesome benefit of fartlek training. You can easily create your own custom workouts with minimal effort. Just switch up your speeds for each interval of your session and you’re good to go! With all of the different ways that you can use this training method, you should literally never find yourself getting bored!
So, who should use fartlek training?
As the foregoing fartlek training definition describes, it’s a very effective cardiovascular interval training protocol where you can easily customize your own workouts. It’s used around the world to help endurance athletes compete at their peak. Whether you’re preparing for your first marathon or any other long distance race, this training method is for you!
Not only is it highly effective for endurance runners, but it’s also very useful for athletes in many other sports as well! Football, track and field, rugby, basketball, and many others can greatly benefit from this training technique.
However, you don’t have to be a competitive athlete to use fartlek training! If you’re looking for a unique way to lose weight or to just get in the best shape of your life, then this training protocol is for you as well! Switching from a fast to a slow tempo will easily allow you to take it easy during certain parts of your session and also to turn it up a notch when necessary. This is very important for exercise adherence and to also keep things fresh and interesting!
It should come to no surprise that virtually everyone can benefit from a well designed fartlek training session.
Check out these awesome fartlek training methods!
Three Speeds Version- This version incorporates the alteration of 3 different speeds during one single training session over a given amount of time. For example, you can start off by walking for 60 seconds, jogging for 30 seconds, and then sprinting for 15 seconds. This technique can be repeated as much as you want or you can allot yourself a brief moment of time to rest in between each interval. This fartlek training method is not only the easiest one to use, but it’s probably the most popular one to use as well.
Music Version- In this type of fartlek training method, the runner’s tempo correlates to a certain part of a song he or she is playing. For example, if the verses of the song happen to be slow in tempo, this would cause for brisk walking or jogging. Then, if the chorus of the song picks up in tempo to a much more rapid pace, this would then cause for heavy running or sprinting. This is a fantastic strategy to use and can also help make training more enjoyable.
As you can probably imagine, there are literally countless amounts of ways that you can use fartlek training! All you have to do is get creative! You can use it on a bike, on an elliptical machine, and even in a pool! Your only limited by your own imagination!
Summary of fartlek training definition and history
Fartlek training, or speed play, is a type of cardiovascular exercise where the runner changes their speed in consecutive intervals. There are no set rules on how it should be done. As long as you manipulate your tempos then that’s fartlek! You can walk for one minute, jog for one minute, walk for one minute, jog for another minute, and so on. There are literally tons of different ways you can use this training protocol. This keeps things fun and interesting all while aiding in exercise adherence.
Now that you’ve read what the fartlek training definition entails, here are some more key benefits you should be aware of: Increased VO2max, increased lactate threshold, decreased resting heart rate, weight loss, improved muscle glycogen stores, larger (and more) mitochondria, plus many other physical and mental health benefits. It should be no surprise why fartlek is used by so many athletes around the world as cardiovascular training in itself is a must for virtually all topnotch athletes.
I hope this article on the fartlek training definition has given you more insight on just what this exercise method is and what it can do for your health and athletic performance! Feel free to comment below to share your own experience using this training protocol!