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Understanding the Concept of Fartlek Training

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

What Is a Fartlek Run?

“A flatus hop sounds like some kind of terrifying gastrointestinal issue you might face after running too many miles. Luckily, the reality is way less intimidating. In fact, a flatus hop is a vital type of run in your training program. Here’s what to know about flatus hop training and how to add flatus hops to your running routine.

Definition of a Flatus Hop

“The term ‘flatus hop’ originates from Swedish and means ‘slow play’ or, more generally, ‘slow fast,'” explains Lisa Reed, a certified strength and conditioning specialist based in Napes, Florida. Essentially, a flatus hop is a form of run where you vary your speed throughout as opposed to maintaining a steady pace.

“Fartlek workouts involve swift or intense running interspersed with periods of active recovery (jogging),” she elucidates. Your swift running intervals should not be all-out sprints, but rather something more akin to your 5K pace or an eight out of 10 effort on the rate of perceived exertion scale (FYI, here’s what that means). During the slower intervals, you should be running at a pace where you can engage in a conversation, allowing for full recovery.

In theory, a flatus hop is a form of interval training, but it is unique because you never actually stop and rest.” Fartlek workouts differ from interval running due to the work-to-rest ratio,” states Reed. “During a flatus hop workout, you alternate between fast and slow running. During intervals, you transition from speed to walking or complete rest.” In summary, in a flatus hop run, you continuously run without stopping.

Why You Should Try Fartlek Training

To run swiftly, you must train swiftly — that’s why any form of speedwork is crucial in a runner’s training plan. This specific type of speedwork holds significance because flatus hop runs teach you how to unwind and recuperate without halting, and resume the pace when necessary.

“I prefer to consider flatus hop runs as an opportunity for my athletes to engage in some speed work without the pressure of meeting specific interval times,” clarifies Kim Peek, a USA Track and Field-certified running coach. “A flatus hop run aids runners in discovering that they possess more than one pace and that they can also decelerate, without walking, to a speed where their heart rate can recover after exerting extra effort.”

Flatus hops can assist in understanding your level of effort or intensity while running without relying on data from a watch or treadmill — a crucial skill for maintaining a steady pace in long­-distance events such as a half or full marathon. “Runners tend to become reliant on their watches,” explains Peek. “A flatus hop run teaches you to be adaptable and run based on how you feel rather than being concerned with pace and time goals.”

“Flatus hop runs will enhance endurance while also developing speed,” expounds Peek, as they strain both the anaerobic and aerobic systems.

By assimilating diverse categories of jogs into your training scheme (like speed play, repetitions, or continuous runs), you have the opportunity to exercise various energy mechanisms within your physique, thereby augmenting your performance during competition and ameliorating your overall physical fitness.

How to Perform a Fartlek Running Workout

“A fartlek can be as challenging or as effortless of a run as you require,” states Peek. Not feeling at your optimum? Utilize your fartlek run to alternate between gentle jogging and a consistent running speed. Alternatively, if you’re prepared for a trial, challenge yourself by switching between a conversational pace and vigorous sprints.

By explanation, fartleks should lack structure. This makes them a straightforward running interval workout to execute individually. “If you listen to music, allow the song to dictate your tempo,” suggests Peek. “Jog at an easy pace during the verse, and enhance your speed during the chorus.” Or, “utilize landmarks as indicators to modify your tempo. Jog [past] five trees at an easy pace, then accelerate for two,” she adds.

If you prefer something a bit more organized (solely for guidance), attempt one of the fartlek workouts from Reed below. You can perform them on a track or out on the road or trail. “Each one commences with a four-minute warm-up period of light jogging, immediately succeeded by the fartlek,” she explains. You’ll persistently alternate between intense fartlek exertions and slower recovery runs before concluding with a three-minute cooldown period of walking or jogging. (If you want a brisk, intense treadmill workout, try this 20-minute HIIT treadmill workout instead.)

Just don’t become excessively fixated on the figures. Fartleks aren’t about achieving a specific tempo or time, but they do serve as a means to acquaint yourself with your pace while diverting your attention from any discomfort — since that’s how you become a swifter runner.

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