Fartlek is a funny name, but this training technique is a must for boosting your pace. It’s Swedish for “speed play,” meaning you vary your bursts of speed. “You can perform this workout almost anywhere,” says Andrew Lemoncello, a former Olympian in the steeplechase and assistant coach at McMillan Running Company. “I prefer to do these workouts on dirt roads since it’s easier on my legs, and the undulating terrain forces my muscles to work a little bit harder than flat road.”
Do this: First, warm up for a mile, and then start your intervals. You’ll run as hard as you can for the prescribed amount of time, and recover with a jog for 90 seconds.
You’ll be able to push harder during the 1-minute intervals than during the 3-minute intervals. However, there’s no set pace you’re trying to hit. Instead, work on effort levels of pushing as hard as you can for the set amount of time. If you’re new to running or just getting back into the sport, do the first two intervals, then build up to the rest as you get more fit.
Interval 1: Sprint for 1 minute, recovery jog for 90 seconds
Interval 2: Sprint for 2 minutes, recovery jog for 90 seconds
Interval 3: Sprint for 3 minutes, recovery jog for 90 seconds
Interval 5: Sprint for 2 minutes, recovery jog for 90 seconds
Interval 6: Sprint for 1 minute, recovery jog for 90 seconds
Hill to Tempo
No runner wants to crash before the finish line, so you need a way to work through fatigue. That’s why this drill teaches your legs to handle tiring challenges over and over again.
Do this: After warming up, find a long hill with no more than a 10-percent grade. Sprint uphill for 90 seconds at 90 percent effort—or about your 5K pace—with a slow jog back down the hill as recovery. That’s one round. Do 6 total rounds.
After completing the uphill sprints, run easy for 4 minutes to recover. Finish off with a two to three mile tempo run at about 70 percent effort—or around your half-marathon pace.