Fartlek Training – The 20 x 1

Fartlek is Swedish for speed-play and is a blend of a long continuous run and interval training. During a continuous run you simply insert fast pic ups and slower recoveries without stopping  as you would in an interval session. There are an almost infinite number of variations on fartlek session structures, from short 10 sec bursts during your runs, using lamp posts to alternate fast/slow, or mile fast/mile slow – you really can use your imagination. All you need to do is ensure you run for a continuous time or distance and set ‘faster’ intervals within the run.

The 20 X 1 Fartlek

This particular fartlek is particularly unforgiving.

15 mins warm up

1 min @ 5k – 10k pace
1 min steady
x 20

15 mins warm down

This is a hard session. The recovery is at a ‘steady’ pace, not ‘easy’ (where steady is aprox mara pace + 30 to 60 seconds per mile). This will really test your aerobic system and your body’s lactate tolerance – you will not feel anywhere near recovered after the ‘recovery’. Dig deep. The gains from high volume and high intensity sessions like this are great. This session should be done no more than fortnightly for this reason. Ensure ample recovery the day after.

Variations And Progression

The key to progressing this session is the recovery. As you progress, increase the speed of the recovery. This is an advanced session, if you are a beginner maybe think about making the recoveries ‘easy’ (a  gentle jog/walk), especially if it is the first time you are trying this session.

Feeling super strong/suicidal? Why not emulate the infamous Kenyan training session – the ominously named ‘Hour’.  The Hour is the above session, but with 30 repeats instead of 20. You have our respect.