Sprint or Stride? Fartlek vs Tempo!
When it comes to running, two common training techniques are fartlek and tempo runs. Both are aimed at improving running performance, but they differ in their approach and benefits. It’s important to understand the differences between fartlek vs tempo to determine which is best for your training goals. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of fartlek and tempo runs to help you make an informed decision.
Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a form of interval training that involves varying your pace during a run. Fartlek runs are unstructured, meaning you can change your pace whenever you want, for as long as you want. This training technique is great for improving endurance and speed, and it allows you to challenge your body in different ways. Fartlek runs are also great for preparing for races, as they simulate the varying terrain and pace that you may encounter during a race.
The Benefits of Fartlek Runs
Fartlek runs have several benefits, including:
- Improving endurance and speed
- Boosting cardiovascular fitness
- Developing mental toughness
- Simulating race conditions
The Drawbacks of Fartlek Runs
While fartlek runs are a great training technique, there are some drawbacks to consider:
- Unstructured runs can be difficult for beginners to execute
- May not be suitable for runners with injuries or joint issues
- Difficult to track progress or measure improvement
Tempo runs are a form of structured interval training that involves running at a steady pace for an extended period. The goal of tempo runs is to improve your lactate threshold, which is the point where your body begins to produce more lactate than it can clear. By increasing your lactate threshold, you can run faster and longer before fatigue sets in.
The Benefits of Tempo Runs
Tempo runs have several benefits, including:
- Increasing lactate threshold and endurance
- Improving running form and efficiency
- Helping runners maintain a steady pace during races
- Easy to track progress and measure improvement
The Drawbacks of Tempo Runs
While tempo runs are a great training technique, there are some drawbacks to consider:
- Can be mentally challenging due to the steady pace and lack of variety
- May not be suitable for beginners or runners with injuries
Fartlek vs Tempo: Which is Right for You?
Deciding between fartlek vs tempo depends on your training goals, fitness level, and personal preferences. If you’re looking to improve speed, endurance, and simulate race conditions, fartlek runs may be a better fit. On the other hand, if you want to increase lactate threshold and improve running efficiency, tempo runs may be the way to go.
It’s important to note that both training techniques are beneficial and can be incorporated into your training plan. You can alternate between fartlek and tempo runs to keep your training varied and challenging.
Novel Suggestions: Fartlek and Tempo Variations
While fartlek and tempo runs are effective training techniques, it’s important to switch things up and keep your training varied. Here are some fartlek and tempo variations to try:
- Hill fartlek: Incorporate hill sprints into your fartlek runs to improve strength and speed
- Progressive tempo: Start at a slower pace and gradually increase your speed during your tempo run to challenge your body in different ways
- Pyramid fartlek: Vary your pace in intervals, starting with short sprints and gradually increasing the length of each interval
- Cruise tempo: Run at a steady pace for the majority of your run but finish with a faster pace to improve your finishing kick
By incorporating these variations into your training, you can keep your workouts interesting and achieve your running goals.
Whether you choose fartlek or tempo runs, both training techniques are effective for improving running performance. Fartlek runs allow for flexibility and simulate race conditions, while tempo runs focus on increasing lactate threshold and improving efficiency. Consider your goals and fitness level when choosing between fartlek vs tempo, and don’t be afraid to switch things up with variations. With the right training plan, you can achieve your running goals and enjoy the benefits of both techniques.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between fartlek and tempo runs?
The main difference between fartlek and tempo runs is their approach and focus. Fartlek runs are unstructured and allow for varying pace, while tempo runs are structured and involve running at a steady pace for an extended period. Fartlek runs focus on endurance and speed, while tempo runs focus on increasing lactate threshold and improving running efficiency.
Which training technique is better for beginners?
Both fartlek and tempo runs can be beneficial for beginners, but it depends on individual fitness level and goals. Fartlek runs may be more accessible for beginners as they are unstructured and can be adjusted to individual needs. However, if a beginner wants to focus on increasing lactate threshold and improving running form, tempo runs may be more suitable.
Can I incorporate both fartlek and tempo runs in my training plan?
Absolutely! In fact, alternating between fartlek and tempo runs can keep your training varied and challenging. Incorporating variations of both techniques can also add interest and help achieve your running goals.
Is it necessary to track progress and measure improvement in both fartlek and tempo runs?
Tracking progress and measuring improvement can provide valuable feedback and motivation in both fartlek and tempo runs. However, it may be easier to do so in tempo runs as they are structured and involve running at a steady pace for an extended period. Fartlek runs can be more difficult to track due to their unstructured nature.
Are fartlek and tempo runs suitable for runners with injuries or joint issues?
It is important to consult with a medical professional before beginning any new training program, especially if you have injuries or joint issues. Fartlek runs may not be suitable for runners with injuries or joint issues due to the varying pace and impact on joints. Similarly, tempo runs may also not be suitable for some individuals, depending on the nature of their injury or joint issues.