Many times athletes begin to feel that they have stagnated in their evolution and in their brands , mainly when we refer to running or they may feel that they have a significant lack related to acceleration ability while they are in a competition, But to solve this situation, there is fartlek , a form of training that can help the athlete to solve this problem.


What is fartlek?

The training method known as fartlek is a type of training that is based on the alternating combination of the rhythms of the race in an uninterrupted way , mixing high intensity efforts with other simpler or more relaxed efforts.


What does it consist of

This type of training basically consists of making a series of changes in terms of the rhythm of the exercise in different slopes, also alternating randomly and without having rest periods while exercising until the exercise is finally finished, in other words, it is based on the alternating combination of the rhythms of the race . It can be said that it is a type of training that is based on intervals where the person who does it can recover in short periods of time and then increase through high intensitywhich significantly improves aerobic power.


Fartlek characteristics

Among the main characteristics of fartlek are the following:

  • The heart rate should be maintained between 130 and 175 beats per minute.
  • The duration of the exercise will depend on each individual as well as the objectives they have and the work plan they are following.
  • If you need to improve a medium depth training , it is advisable to work between 40 and 60 minutes .
  • If a total background improvement , it is recommended to work the full 60 minutes .
  • It is a fun exercise but at the same time it is quite demanding .
  • There are constant changes in exercise intensity , speed and volume .
  • During periods of rest, the heart rate remains high, which gives the body the ability to better oxygenate the muscles.
  • It is used mainly by athletes who practice running or athletics .


The origin and history of fartlek begins in Sweden , during the first half of the 20th century , however, the expansion to other places of this type of training was Gösta Holmer , it was he who was responsible for transforming it into a training method that he achieved consolidate over time. The term is composed of the Swedish word ” fart ” which means speed and ” lek ” which means game , which is why it is known as ” speed game “.

The Poles also had a way of carrying out the training and put a new way of practicing this sport which they called as Polish fartlek , this type of training was carried out in natural areas but with a more leisurely type of structure since they included warm-up , play of speeds over short , the game speeds long and then returned to calm .

At the beginning, the mixture of intensities occurred naturally when practicing in difficult terrain and it was in this way that it was discovered that physical performance increased when effort levels were interposed, in this way it was how time was optimized. training . Currently there are some variants which are used depending on the athlete’s taste.

What is it for

Fartlek training is a physical conditioning that has the ability to considerably improve physical endurance , the cardiovascular system , the power of the athlete to do aerobic exercises and anaerobic capacity , all within the same session. This type of exercise has the ability to improve the muscular system and prepare the muscles to compete as it significantly helps to recycle the lactate that has accumulated.

In addition, it is ideal to improve the body’s cardiovascular system and capacity due to the oxygen demand that the body needs to be able to carry out the effort. It is a type of routine that even serves to improve the mental state of individuals since the level of concentration must be ideal in order to plan the rhythms.

Types of fartlek

In order to perform this test, it must be taken into account that there are four different types to be able to perform them, these are:

  • Fartlek by time : in this type of exercise the main objective is to be able to maintain the anaerobic threshold for as long as possible. Time in fartlek must run two minutes so quick and then a minute so slow to motivate the recovery of the body.
  • Fartlek by distance : in this case, must make a total of 400 meters with a fast speed and then they run 200 meters so slowly , but without stopping at any time. This type of fartlek can be done on terrain that has a certain degree of unevenness , in this case, when you go up the speed will be the maximum while when you go down, the speed will be slow.
  • Fartlek by terrain : in this case, it is necessary to have a specific place which must have some special characteristics at the same time. The descents here must be controlled and the ascents are done very quickly , almost explosively.
  • Fartlek by pulsations : here the most important thing is the functioning and the performance of the cardiac system . The exercise is based on being able to run slowly, keeping the heart rate at 145 and then the heart rate must be raised until it reaches 180 beats per minute.

How is fartlek done

Asphalt fartlek is one of the ways in which this exercise can be performed, especially on a track or area that has already been measured, in this case, repetitions , distances and alternating times can be done , including rest stages . It is important that before doing this exercise a suitable warm-up is made for it, which can be by performing a very gentle jog , some joint mobility exercises and progressions.

It usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, always depending on the distance to travel which will be the objective. It is important that during exercise the jogging is alternated between light , medium and light . If it is done outdoors, the most important thing is to find places where there are ups and downs in the terrain.


Fartlek is important for athletes and sportsmen because it is a means by which they can considerably increase physical endurance , thus increasing their ability to exercise as well. It is also an ideal way to strengthen muscles and to prevent future injuries . Thanks to this type of training, it is possible to control the pace in the races and it is an effective method to improve in the races.

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