Fartleking and Swimming

My gym opens at 5:45 so if I’m going to the gym, that’s when I go.

Yesterday I did a fartlek run on the treadmill.


I hope I got the definition of fartlek right, because actually I’m not 100% sure.


 Maybe no one knows...

Maybe no one knows…

According to what I read online a while ago, when trying to make a training plan that would allow for some running improvements (instead of just doing whatever, you know?) it is like an interval run but not as structured, so basically you just run harder for a certain period of time, and easy for another period of time, and then do it again but not necessarily the same amount of time for running harder/easier as other intervals.
Whatever you feel like doing, basically? As long as you run harder/easier. Suits me.

Anyway, this is what I did:

Fartlek Workout

I really like this kind of workout because the few easy minutes are enough to let me rest my legs a little and get my breathing back to normal.
It’s a great speed workout as well, I can run paces that there’s no way I can run as tempo yet, so at least I do 10 minutes of it.
Every couple of months, when the paces start to feel more comfortable, I add the speed a little bit so I’m running at a hard pace again.


Today I set up my IPad to wake me up at 4:30 so I could go swimming at the gym pool at opening time, but yesterday I played with the volume and turned it all the way down.. very smart.. so I didn’t hear the alarm go off and woke up at 5:20.
Still early, but late for me. It’s a good thing though because I really needed the extra sleep, I’ve been going to bed after 11:00 every night this week, way too late for the time I wake up.

I considered just skipping today’s workout, but that was a no go for me.  Good.
And then I considered going right then, with no breakfast, but decided against it. Good choice again. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in that pool. I need my coffee!! And I need my food!!
Ended up with my usual 2 cups and oatmeal bar.


I swam 3KM/1.9M, or 60 laps… yes, I do count them… am I crazy? I do 3 sets of 20 laps, and each number from 1 to 20 has a different association in my mind so it’s easier to remember which lap I’m swimming. OK, I just answered my own question, I am crazy.

Going for a long run tomorrow morning, 25KM/15.5M… slow and steady, I hope.


 Early rise tomorrow

Early rise tomorrow

Never run this distance before (the most was 23KM/14.3M).

Hope you are some good weekend runs scheduled. I love my weekend runs.. they give me energy for the whole week ahead.




17 thoughts on “Fartleking and Swimming”

  1. Don’t mean to invade your brain space or anything, but I’m curious about your lap-counting “associations” for swimming. Specifically, are they connected in some way or mostly random? (Love to see a separate post on this sometime, if you are so inclined…)

    1. LOL! I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself writing a post about it.. Random things but unmistakable, like birth dates, age of kids, how many languages I speak… Very entertaining stuff. 🙂

        1. It’s also a low number for me, that’s lap number 3 (Spanish, English, Hebrew). I know a bit of French and Italian that I learnt in high school, but not enough to carry on a conversation.. 20 years later.

  2. I’ve never seen fartleks with that much time on the speed, but it would be great for learning to maintain that speed as you get more in shape. I might try this out when I’m stuck inside next time. Thanks.

    1. That is exactly why I like this workout, be it fartlek by definition or not… I can stay at a hard pace for longer than a HIIT pace, but it’s not yet a pace for tempo.. (maybe one day) so somewhere in between.

      1. I also wanted to ask you if you upped the incline on the treadmill while doing this workout to simulate wind resistance. I usually do my treadmill workouts at 1-2% incline, but I just wondered about a “quality”/”speed” workout like this one.

        1. I always set the incline on the treadmill to 0.5%, regardless of the workout. It stimulates street running where there’s always uneven terrain. I don’t go higher than that though, but I do run some hills outside.

  3. That’s interesting about not really recovering on HIIT runs, it makes sense too. The first hard interval feels easy, but by the 8th one your legs are feeling it. I guess that’s what eventually makes you stronger.

  4. I agree. I think of a fartlek as a hybrid interval workout and tempo run. Intervals are actually focused on the rest time between the hard pace. The point being you don’t wait to fully recover before you run hard again. Fartleks sort of copy the interval pattern but allow for recovery. A tempo run would not have has many reps – in fact it might only have one hard rep. At least this is what I think. I’m not a coach.

You read what I think, now let me read what you think

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