Fartlek: Most people laugh at the word, but it’s actually a good way to change your workout routine. It is a form of speed play. Most of us don’t worry about speed. Truth is that I am not very fast either. But a change in your workout routine does a body and a mind good.
Watch children play. They don’t jog at a steady pace. They go as fast as they can from station to station. They take a break then do it again. It looks like they are having fun, because they are. Whenever you can you should put some fun into your workout. Fartleks do that.
Try a fartlek workout once a week or so. It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner, biker or walker. You do it the same way. Do what you do at your usual pace, but when the urge hits you, pick up the pace for a minute or so. My favorite way to do it is to pick out something in the distance and run fast until I get there, then break back down to my normal pace. Walkers can just walk faster for a bit or break into a light jog. Same thing for bikers, just pick it up and go hard for a minute.
Stoplight fartleks can be a good way of dealing with city running. This was an accidental discovery. I was stuck in downtown Louisville when a shipper did not have the load ready (shocking). I decided to jog on over to the riverfront trail. It was frustrating stopping at the lights. So I tried to run faster to beat the lights. It worked sometimes, and I would get a hard run in for two blocks before having to rest at the next light. If I ran hard for two blocks I was hoping to get a red light. As truckers, sometimes we are forced to make the best out of the situation.
It is my belief that the more you enjoy your workout the more likely you will be to workout. Go out and play. Have fun, and do a fartlek. Then tell your friends that you just did a fartlek workout.