Training run types – Fartlek, Inetrval & Tempo


Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning ‘speed play’. The idea behind a fartlek training run is changing your running rhythm and speed while completing a continuous run – mixing slow running and faster running. fartlek is a particularly useful training if you want a fast burst of speed at the end of a race.

Besides this there are no set ‘rules’ about how a fartlek run or training session should be structured. Mix different speeds and distances to suit your running aims. However, remember that the fartlek is a continuous run so sections of sprinting may not allow you to keep running is they’re too difficult. Beginners may also want to include walking sections – anything as long as it’s continuous.

Tempo Run or Threshold Training

Tempo runs or threshold training are excellent training methods when training competitive short races such as a 10K or a half marathon. Tempo running is based on practising running just below or at your anaerobic level. Tempo runs are continuous runs and generally longer than a fartlek or intervals training .

There are many ways to run a tempo run. For example, if you’re able to follow your heart rate, you should keep it below your maximum heart rate zone. Ideally, you should also keep your heart rate steady during the whole tempo part of your workout. Another way of tempo running is to follow your speed and average pace – keeping the pace steady.

Interval training

Interval training is similar to fartlek except you have a break between each repetition. Also your pace during intervals should be faster than your tempo run and fartlek pace.

Intervals are great for increasing speed endurance, running form and running economy. However, remember that interval training is a strenuous training method and you should always warm-up properly before your session and let your body recover afterwards.