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Fartleks can be a fun, hassle-free way to get really fit – and all they need is a stopwatch. Whether you are an ultra runner, a road racer, or a track and field athlete, Fartleks provide an effective training tool that you can perform on any terrain.
By nature, Fartleks are not required to run at specific speeds. They should be guided according to your feelings. This lack of a strictly set pace allows you to really pay attention to how you are feeling. I find that a lot of runners lose when they are involved in GPS splits and data.
Mostly when my own athletes Stop worrying about divisions and listen to clues from your body. In the end, they run faster than expected.
One fartlek that I really enjoy giving out during a runner’s training cycle is the one minute cutdown progression. It works well for runners training for any distance from 3 miles to Ultra and can be done on roads or trails. The training is structured in such a way that each Fartlek interval is one minute shorter than the previous one and is also carried out a little faster.
One Minute Cutdown Progress Fartlek
Depending on your skill level, the first Fartlek interval should be anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes and should be completed at your 75- to 60-minute race pace. This is roughly equivalent to a half marathon pace (for advanced runners), a 15 km pace (for advanced runners), and a 10 km pace (for beginners). You can also think of this as a Perceived Exertion Rate (RPE) of 5 out of 10 (where 10 is an all-out sprint).
Each subsequent interval should be one minute shorter and run a little faster until you reach the one minute interval. After each interval, the recovery is a slow 90-second run. In terms of speed, increase your pace by 5 to 10 seconds, or roughly half an RPE, at each interval.
One way to make it more interesting
Here I want to make this a little more interesting and where the real value lies. After you settle in to your first interval and find the right pace, check your watch at the end of each interval – but before you look, try to guess your pace. Do the rest of the rest of the way you feel, but try to increase your pace by 5-10 seconds per rep.
After your workout, check your watch to see how close you got to your target pace and decrease your pace by 5-10 seconds per rep. If you did it, congratulations! Your pace and energy management are spot on. If you’ve faded a little or struggled to pick up the pace on the later repetitions, you probably started a little too quickly.
Repeat this workout every 2 to 5 weeks, but start a little more slowly. The more times you repeat this, the better you can increase and ultimately manage your energy both during training and running. The right pace is a skill – and like all skills, it must be practiced.
One minute Fartlek progression workout
- Warm up 1-2 miles, starting at an easy pace, then gradually picking up on a moderately hard pace.
- Run for 8 minutes at a half marathon pace (for intermediate runners), 15K pace (for intermediate runners), and 10K pace (for beginners), or a 5 minute RPE this calculator to determine your half marathon pace based on different racetracks.
- Do a slow 90-second run.
- Repeat the above process except making each interval shorter by a minute and 5 to 10 seconds or half an RPE faster until you reach the one minute interval. Hold the recovery at 90 seconds. For example 8 minutes (90 seconds), 7 minutes (90 seconds), 6 minutes (90 seconds), 5 minutes (90 seconds), 4 minutes (90 seconds), 3 minutes (90 seconds), 2 minutes (90 seconds) ), a minute.
- Cooldown 1-2 miles at an easy pace.
Repeat the above workout every 2 to 5 weeks, but add a minute to the first interval each time. So for the example above, you’d switch to 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and then 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
What is a Fartlek?
Fartlek is a Swedish term that means “speed play”. A Fartlek is a continuous run in which “periods of fast running are mixed in with periods of slower running”. Fartleks are designed to be performed based on feel and assigned steps. A classic example of a Fartlek run is that Billat 30-30 training.
What is the difference between a Fartlek and interval training?
The main difference between the two is that interval workouts are mandated with an assigned target pace. However, Fartleks are run at an RPE or race distance pace like a 5k pace by feeling.
Some interval workouts can include a recovery period while standing or walking. Fartleks should run continuously.
How do I make a fartlek?
Fartleks are perhaps the easiest form of quick work you can do. They can be done anywhere and do not require a GPS watch.
Simply pick up the pace for a set or indefinite amount of time and then run at a slower pace. Repeat, and you’ve just done a fartlek.