Okay so you might be thinking “Fartlek. what the heck is a fartlek?”. Usually associated with running, it is basically an interval workout. This means you’re switching up high intensity (aka hard and fast) with lower intensity (think jogging or active recovery).
Runner’s World says fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish, which is really about accurate since you are switching up speeds in the workout!
Unlike intervals though, fartlek workouts have shorter breaks. This means you’re going to be doing the high intensity parts for longer than your recovery periods. You will want to adjust the amount of effort you put in accordingly so you can hold it for the duration and then repeat it after a short break! You want to be at a moderate-to-high amount of effort (you want to really be pushing it for a good, challenging workout but still be able to sustain it!)
Today, I did a typical fartlek running workout on the bike- still recovering from the knee injury and all. And, it was brutal. Literally sweat pouring from my eyeballs and the other people on the bikes around me were probably wondering what kind of masochist does this. But it is SUCH a great workout.
Builds endurance. Aerobic & anaerobic exercise. Good for fat loss & toning. Simple & easy to remember. And, you get a KILLER workout in a short period of time. It really is a staple in my book.
SO HERE IT IS: Warm up 10-15 minutes. 50 seconds hard, 20 seconds recovery. Repeat for 20-30 minutes. Cool down 10-15 minutes.
You can run this, bike this, or really whatever exercise you choose. No matter what it is going to be challenging for your body, and it’ll PUSH you. Push is good though, because that is what is going to change you and make you better. That is what is going to keep you chasing after your goals. This is what is going to make you stronger, faster, and healthier.
I like to keep the recovery on a lower resistance on the bike and then crank it up for the hard part. I like to keep the RPM at about 60-65 for the recovery and then go to 100-110 or so for the workout part. Resistance changes for me depending on the day and whatnot, but I like to do the recovery part at a 7!
*Note on warming up and cooling down. IT IS SO IMPORTANT. I used to be a naive little child and think it was wasting my time and would love to go right into the workout. Wrong. Injury after injury after injury.
Warming up is one of the most important things. Hands down. New studies have shown that you don’t even necessarily have to stretch BEFORE a workout, but you MUST WARM UP for injury prevention! Stretching AFTER a workout PLUS COOLING DOWN is very important though.