FML Workout Fartlek

By Chris McClung – February 1, 2017
Photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

Make no mistake about it, this training regiment is no laughing matter.

There’s no way around it: Fartlek’s name isn’t doing it any favors. Swedish for “speed play,” fartlek is designed to keep your body guessing by alternating moderate-to-hard exercises with easy efforts. By running fast for short periods of time and then slowing down for easy-effort recovery running, you can “play with speed” to challenge your endurance and mental strength.

Whether you’re in a group—great for mixing up pace and time and pushing your running mates—or training as a tandem (like Chris and Amy McClung, CEO of Rogue Running and Dermatologist, respectively), this free-flowing workout will liberate you from repetitive running routines and ensure you never run out of gas.

For each of these I recommend a warm-up of 1–2 miles at easy efforts before beginning the fartlek.


1. Develop Speed  

If you’re just looking to develop speed or add variety to you daily run: 30/90 fartlek. Alternate between 30 seconds at hard efforts and 90 seconds easy for 8-10 cycles in the middle of a run.


2. Train for a 5K

If you’re training for a 5K: 1/1 fartlek. Alternate between 1 minute "on" at your target 5K pace and 1 minute "off" at easy paces. Repeat for 10-15 cycles.


3. Train for a Half Marathon or Marathon

If you’re training for a half marathon or marathon: 3/2/1 fartlek (or 3/3/2/2/1/1). Run 3 minutes at target marathon pace followed by 3 minutes easy rolling straight into 2 minutes at target half marathon pace followed by 2 minutes easy, then 1 minute hard (~10K effort) followed by 1 minute easy. Repeat for 3-4 cycles.



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