Fartlek training is a highly effective protocol to help you build endurance and shed fat. Given the way that fartlek training is performed, it is best used outside or on a track. This is due to the constant shift or change in tempo that fartlek training is known for.
With fartlek training, your tempos or speeds can be changed from a brief walk to sprinting and everything in between within seconds. This constant and rapid speed manipulation makes it difficult to effectively perform fartlek training on a treadmill.
Here is a key reason as to why fartlek training on a treadmill is probably not a good idea. For starters, fartlek training on a treadmill quickly becomes very difficult once you begin transitioning tempos. Think about it. It can be quite the disruption to have to change large speeds on a treadmill.
Going from walking to sprinting, then back to walking again would call for you to have your fingers constantly pressing the speed button for nearly the entire duration of your workout.
The only way that you could realistically have a successful fartlek run on a treadmill would be if you increased the duration of each interval: Instead of 1 minute of walking, 1 minute of jogging, and 30 seconds of sprinting, you could do 4 minutes of power walking, 5 minutes of jogging, and 3 minutes of heavy running. Something like this would be much more efficient as you wouldn’t be stuck constantly pressing the speed buttons.
If you are set on doing a fartlek training workout, but must do one indoors, there are definitely some other ideas out there besides using a treadmill. One of the best ways to use fartlek training is on an elliptical machine. Using an elliptical machine lets you more easily transition from jogging to sprinting to walking. As long as you give yourself a decent enough resistance to work with, then you should be fine.
Another great alternative to fartlek training on a treadmill is to use a stationary bike. With a stationary bike, you can easily maneuver from one tempo to the next. I’m not talking about the digital stationary bikes.
The bikes I’m referring to are the ones where you can control the resistance without the use of any kind of display screen. You simply put a decent resistance on the bike and perform your fartlek training session!
Basically, any type of cardio equipment that would allow you to utilize the manipulation of speeds without having to constantly press a bunch of buttons would be great. You can definitely still have a good workout if you decide to do fartlek training on a treadmill though. Just make sure that each interval is relatively long.
The whole issue with fartlek training on a treadmill arises due to the fact that by constantly pressing buttons to change the speed, you are then interfering with the natural rhythm of your session.
Regardless of what you decide to do, fartlek training is still going to be a great cardio protocol for you! It is full of tons of benefits that can greatly help you to accomplish your fitness and health goals. Whether your goals are to compete in a marathon or to lose some extra weight, fartlek training can greatly help you to accomplish these goals.
So, if you can, try to opt for using an elliptical machine or a stationary bike rather than a treadmill. This will make things much easier for you and you’ll find that your experience will be much more enjoyable and efficient.