Hi, I'm following this beginners schedule on your site:

I've noticed it has a 40min fartlek in week three and I am wondering what that should consist of. I doubt I can run for 40mins straight yet as by the time I get to week three the most I will have done will be a 10 min walk jog 20 walk 10....

Any help or advice about what the fartlek should consist of would be most welcome.



  • Fartlek took me ages to work out as well. RW used to assume that all readers knew what it was (but they have explained it a couple of times in the last few months!)

    Anyway, it's running at different speeds - i.e. your 40min fartlek will involve running slow for a few minutes, then a fast burst for a minute or two, then a slow bit, then a medium bit, then fast again - no strict pattern, just play around. That's how I do it anyway!

    APparently it's Swedish for 'speed play' or something....anyone confirm that??
  • can running slow be the same as walking? As I doubt I will be able to run/jog for 40min I will try but...

  • Yes indeed it means "speed play" and that's exactly what you should do, run at all different speeds for any distances, just how you feel.
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    Is there more benefit to this than to a more structured speed session, or do they serve different purposes?

    At the moment the only speedwork I do is intervals of two minutes fast running alternating with two minutes slow running, six reps. I aim to run the intervals at the same pace for each, so that by the end I couldn't manage another interval but I'm not actually dead!

    I also do a tempo run, a long run and a recovery run each week (or at least I'm aiming to, once I get some pacing problems sorted out). Would it be better to replace the interval/tempo with fartlek occasionally?
  • Fartlek serves as a 'fun session' to keep you going and throw in a bit of fast running, but not concentrated speedwork like you would do in a 'normal' session. I think everyone who's done a lot of speed sessions knows how difficult it can be to keep on pushing, especially if you're unlucky enough to be running on your own.
  • Fartlek is mainly a fun session, but it also accustoms your body to doing surges of differing lengths. If you are racing and someone starts to overtake, depending on how fit you feel, by starting a short surge you can often out run the overtaker and stay ahead of them. (Am i making sense?)
    We have a 'set' fartlek route of about 7 miles where everyone knows which lamp post, dustbin or driveway the stop and starts are, then we do an 'ad lib' fartlek where each runner in the group takes a turn to shout start and another shouts stop - makes for shorter and longer bursts of speed and recovery.
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