by Jason Blacker in Training Tips

Fartleks: A Runner’s Guide to Mathematical Wizardry

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In this article, we will show you as a Runner how to make 1 + 1 equal 4.

Now in the hard sciences, this is practically impossible but not if you’re looking to make the most of your time as a Runner. In fact many of you know, that a mile of walking or running will still burn approximately the same amount of calories. This is where we can start to manipulate the mathematics of fitness. And this is my goal for you in this article. How to make a 20 minute workout the equivalent of a 40 minute jog. Not to say that you will want to do 20 minutes each time you go for a run, as there are benefits to doing both longer and shorter distances in your training regimen.

It’s all about speed play

If one day you find yourself pinched for time, then hopefully will find information in this article to be of value. I believe that sometimes it is better to do a quickie than to do nothing at all. So let’s get right down to the nuts and bolts of bending time utilizing Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Many of the elite athletes in whatever their chosen field, use sprints or fartleks to improve their performance for both endurance and power. Fartleks is just a fancy Swedish word for speed play. But please, do not be fooled by the word “play”. Fartleks is strictly business.

At this point it will feel like you’re sucking air through a straw as thick as a pin.

There are many ways of using speed play in your workout. A 20 minute sprint session, can be more effective than 45 minutes of moderate jogging. One of the best ways that I like to use speed play in my workouts is called threes and sevens.

Threes and sevens.

After a short warm-up of about 3 to 5 minutes of gentle jogging I like to find myself a long stretch of straight road. And along this straight road there needs to be light poles. This is where speed play or fartleks becomes deadly serious. I jog up to the first light pole, and as I get aligned with it, I go for my best Usain Bolt impersonation. I run as fast as my stubby little legs will carry me for the next three light poles.

At this point it will feel like you’re sucking air through a straw as thick as a pin. So quickly come to a slow jog or even walk for the next three light poles. By the time you’ve walked three light poles, it is time to sprint the next three light poles. You have now sprinted two sets of three light poles. The sevens from threes and sevens is the number of sets you’ll do of these sprints. Even though this will only take you around 20 minutes, you’ll feel as if you have run a marathon by the time it is done.

Great rewards

You’ll hate me for suggesting this workout while you are in the middle of it, but in the weeks to come you’ll be very grateful to see the spectacular results this type of training will get you. One caveat, do not do this type of workout more than once or twice a week. You’ll know why once you’ve done it even one time. This intense workout takes its toll on the body.

Do you have any experience with this method, or do you have any tips to share about fartleks?
Please share it with us!

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