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Play in the Street

Add variety to your workouts. Tired of structure? Loosen up. Play. Skip a dreaded track workout for a fartlek (Swedish for "speed play") session.

Fartlek training was developed in 1937 by Swedish coach Gösta Holmér (1891–1983) and has been adopted by many physiologists since. It was designed originally for a cross country team, but is useful for building both speed and endurance. This type of training is not only good for runners, but also for soccer & Lacrosse players.

Here's how it works. After 10 minutes of easy jogging, run hard between two telephone poles, then slow down until you pass three. Then see if you can get to the traffic light before it changes, followed by a jog to the next mailbox. There are no set rules, so make it up as you go along. If you run with a friend. Take turns picking the next landmark. It's fun. You'll like it!

If you just have to have a plan, try Structured Fartlek. A workout (also called a laddeer workout) might look like this: 10-15 minute warm up, 2 minutes hard, 2:30 easy, 3 minutes hard, 2:30 easy, 4 minutes hard, 2:30 easy, 4 minutes hard, 2:30 easy, 3 minutes hard, 2:30 easy, 2 minutes hard, 10-15 minutes cool down. This workout is stated easier by calling it a: 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, with 2:30 rest. A structured fartlek is great because, since it is run on trails or roads, it gives you the benefits of track work while also providing you the chance to run hills.

Try a Fartlek workout on a treadmill. It's easy. Just increase and decrease the speed on the treadmill. If you're watching a TV in a gym, accellerate during a commercial or until a certain number of people come through the door. Structured Fartlek (just like the one described in the paragraph above) are great speed workouts on a treadmill.


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