Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fartlek: Funny Name, Great Workout

Running is an essential human movement.  Sprinting is an important skill to train as is steady-state longer running.  Our bodies are well-adapted to both styles of running so why not mix up your training and combine both into a single workout.  While I was in the Marine Corps, I was introduced to the Fartlek running workout.  Meaning "speed play" in Swedish, it's basically an interval running session during a jog.  The Marines add in calisthenics and bodyweight strength movements to their version of a Fartlek.
The USMC digs Fartleks and you should too
To get started, pick a running distance or time that you are very comfortable with completing on a low intensity running day.  Every 5 minutes or so, do one of the following variations to your steady jog:

  • Sprint
  • Run in soft sand
  • Run a hill
  • Skip
  • High knees
  • Butt kickers
  • Run backwards
  • Shuffle sideways
Adding a Fartlek every couple of weeks to your overall exercise program can make running more interesting for you and vary the stress that you put on your body thus reducing injury and hitting new muscle groups at the same time.  Give the Marine Corps style Fartlek a try as well and mix in pushups, crunches, bench step-ups, mountain climbers, bear crawls or whatever mixes up your training in an enjoyable way for you.

Happy Fartleking!

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