If you live and breathe the fitness industry you no doubt would be very familiar with Fartlek training.
If not, then let us (actually, let Sam Wood) explain the fitness technique that is not exactly new but is now creating a lot of buzz in the fitness world.
Oh and don’t worry, despite it’s name, this has nothing to do with flatulence…
When you Google the term, the first thing that comes up is that fartlek is the Swedish term for “speed play”, which doesn’t really tell you much.
But it is basically a form of interval and speed training that consists of a random change of pace in your exercise – be that running, swimming, rowing or cycling.
We spoke to Sam Wood, fitness entrepreneur and creator of 28 by Sam Wood, so that he could break it down for us.
What exactly is Fartlek training?
“It is interval training with randomised intervals,” the former Bachelor explained
“So rather than a set time of, you know, 30 seconds on, 90 seconds off, fartlek could be push for a minute, then rest for a minute, then a ten second sprint, then a hill. It’s completely randomised to not let the body predict what is going on.”
Sounds like interval training, right?
It is certainly similar, but fartlek training is much more arbitrary; not pre-determined by any pattern or plan. Essentially the idea is that (if you were running, for example) you can alternate between sprinting, jogging, walking and all other paces at your own preference.
You still need to be disciplined, but it is much more flexible than interval training, allowing you to exercise at your own fitness level as you decide.
There are usually no timers and there is much more variation.
Why is Fartlek effective?
“It gets your heart rate out of that steady state zone, so that’s going to be good for accelerating your metabolism, it’s going to be good for forcing you out of your comfort zone and it’s going to make you run faster” Wood said.
By doing short sharp efforts whilst exercising, you are increasing your metabolism long after the exercise finishes, the fitness expert explained.
“If I go for a jog for half an hour, is that good for me? Absolutely. But my metabolism will come back down to resting pretty quickly. But if I go for an explosive fartlek session…my metabolism will be elevated for hours after I finish that workout”.
Wood also shared that whilst general jogging is good for endurance, fartlek training is best if you’re wanting to increase your speed as well as stamina.
“If you don’t do any kind of speed training, you don’t typically get faster. Your endurance will build up and you’ll be able to plod along all day, but people need to do some sort of interval or fartlek training.”