When I think about “fun” and “running,” this is the first thing that comes to mind. FARTLEK.
If a non-runner hears the word “fartlek,” they’re going to start imagining something…unflattering. They’ll probably giggle.
Say the word to a runner, and they start envisioning a hard(ish) workout that alternates intervals of “fast” and “slow” running. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. Fast, slow, repeat. The degrees of “fast” and “slow” vary based on ability level and the training program, but the concept is the same.
The word actually means “speed play,” and is my favorite type of interval workout in addition to being one of my all-time favorite words. It’s a great way to work in a little speed without having to head for a track. It’s also amazing how quickly the miles can add up while you’re alternating between speeds. I prefer a 3:2, 2:2, 1:1 pattern (3 minutes fast, 2 minutes at normal training speed, etc.) for about 30 minutes or so, plus a half-mile warmup and cooldown. I try to make the longest interval feel fast but comfortable (NOT an oxymoron, I promise), allowing myself to test my limits a little more in the shorter intervals.
Fartlek = a great word that separates runners from non-runners.
Fartlek = a great workout that builds confidence and endurance.
Fartlek = great, good, running fun.