Fartlek is one of the most beneficial forms of training for sportsmen and women. In the vast majority of sports, you will be constantly mixing between low, medium and high intensity movements for the whole match. Fartlek replicates these conditions, typically requiring you to complete cycles of walking, running and sprinting, for a set period of time.
Fartlek may not be the most efficient exercise to burn fat, but it is highly beneficial at improving your endurance and speed at the same time, unlike continuous exercise which generally only improves your endurance.
How does fartlek work?
Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’, and is a combination of interval training and continuous training. Essentially it is a long run, but it is broken up into slow and fast running, whilst beginners may incorporate walking into their programme.
For example, you might walk or jog 200m, run for 400m, sprint for 100m and then walk or jog 200m again, repeating the cycle for a specific period of time, or a certain distance.
Fartlek training does not always need to involve running, but it is the most common form of fartlek training performed.
Why choose fartlek?
Fartlek is a great choice because you can vary it up as you please. It can be easily catered to the individual, and does not rely on gym equipment.
You can easily alter your whole workout, such as your distance, intensity, time, or rest period, even during the actual training, allowing you to respond accordingly to how your body feels.
It mixes aerobic and anaerobic exercises together to give you a maximum improvement across both forms of exercise, which as already mentioned, is highly important in sports. These frequent changes can help to keep this form of training feeling fresh and exciting, rather than monotonous, which can be a problem with continuous exercises.
Not only this, but it helps train your body to cope with any intensity of exercise. Your joints, muscles, nerves and tendons will all experience a wide range of stress, preparing them for sports which will do the same.