Speed Play: The Fun of Fartlek

Here is an early-season Fartlek workout that both half and full marathoners can utilize, after their winter base training, as well as a runner who is in the early stages of training for a 5K and is not yet ready for 5K-specific speed work. It’s a very effective workout to do as you transition between the roads and the track.

Fartlek is another word for speed-play. Fartlek workouts are continuous runs that alternate between paces and are a great (and fun) way to keep the workout varied and interesting. They can be done either on the track or on the roads.

This workout utilizes your 10K target pace as your workout pace, and your half-marathon target pace (HMP) as the recovery pace. The target pace should be your goal or projected race pace. If you don’t know what your 10K or half marathon goal pace is then you can estimate it based on your other race times and using the McMillan Running Calculator (https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/). This is just a suggestion. Your target pace should always be your goal race pace and not your current pace or fitness level.


Dynamic stretches
10 minutes of easy warm-up running (conversational pace)
5 minutes at half marathon pace (HMP)
1 minute at 10K pace
4 minutes at HMP
2 minutes at 10K pace
3 minutes at HMP
3 minutes at 10K pace
4 minutes at HMP
2 minutes at 10K pace
5 minutes at HMP
1 minute at 10K pace
10 minutes of easy cool-down running 

Static stretches

A simple but effective workout in only fifty minutes!

Treadmill Option:

If you don’t have access to a track or the weather doesn’t allow you to run on the roads, you can perform this workout on the treadmill. If you do, make sure that you’re running at 1% incline throughout. This incline most closely simulates the running effort on the roads. Obviously it takes a few seconds to adjust the speed on the treadmill so use your recovery time (time spent running at HMP) to adjust the speed. Here is a useful guide for treadmill pace conversions, something to help you plan ahead and set the right treadmill speeds: http://www.hillrunner.com/training/tmillchart.php

Try this out and let me know what you think! Got questions about any of it?  Catch me at the next Wednesday run or email me at coachmwangi@gmail.com

Run better. Run smarter. Run for life.

Coach Mwangi