Fartlek is a Swedish training method designed to increase your running speed and endurance. In Swedish the word means “speed-play”. This method has been in use for over 50 years and is very effective in accomplishing its’ goals. Fartlek involves varying your pace during the course of a run. During the course of a run, pick up the pace to a sprint for roughly 30 seconds. Do this 6-7 times during a 45-minute run. Another suggestion is to pick a landmark in the distance (telephone pole, stop sign, parked car, etc.) and sprint to it as fast as you can. Research shows that people who have a visible target will be able to sustain their sprint phase for a longer period than those who are simply counting down the seconds until they can slow up again.
The point of Fartlek training is to increase the stress on your cardiovascular system when you pick up the pace. In turn, this allows your CV system to improve the threshold for speed and endurance. If you make the decision to give Fartlek training a try, stay attuned to your body and know your limits. It would also be advisable to contact a physician before undertaking this effect and intense training.