C’mon, let’s face it – do I really need to point out the obvious?

Fartlek is a funny word.

It’s a running term and one of my favorite workouts to do.  Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play.”  A fartlek run varies in intensity and time to eliminate boredom and to and enhance psychological aspects of conditioning.

My current favorite fartlek to do goes like this:

Warm-Up = 5 min – 6.0 mph

8 min – 7.5 mph/4 min – 6.0 mph

6 min – 7.5 mph/3 min – 6.0 mph

4 min – 7.5/2 min – 6.0 mph

2 min – 7.5/1 min 6.0 mph

1 min – 8.0 mph/1 min 6.0 mph

6.5 mph til I reach 5 total miles.

My fartlek is merely a template, and I play with the numbers.

My dear old Uncle Wayne has embedded in my brain “Don’t work out faster, work out longer.”

So when I am really feeling well, the first thing I do is increase the amount of intense minutes.  I will carry my first 7.5 mph for 9-10 minutes.

The second thing I change is my recovery mph.  I will up from 6.0 to 6.3 mph.


Adding these kind of speed workouts has helped me in my long distance running.  I can run a slow long distance without tiring out.  The other plus for me, asking my body to change the way it uses energy for those short intense interval minutes – I lost weight!  I wrote about these and some other benefits of speed training here.

I have grown to love a good fartlek.  So it is with great pride this runner says:


An obviously funny word.