Friday Fartlek Run: 4-3-2-1 Threshold

This session is a great way to increase your lactate threshold. By accumulating 20 minutes at or near your lactate threshold within this workout you will become a fitter, faster runner.

Each week I will be posting the Friday Fartlek Run Sessions that you can do to enhance your running. Fartlek is a Swedish term that is often used by runners and it means speed-play. See a previous post about training intensity (levels) to know how hard to work.

4-3-2-1 Threshold

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 2 sets of
    • 4min Level IV, 60sec Level II RI;
    • 3min Level IV, 40sec Level II RI;
    • 2min Level IV, 20sec Level II RI;
    • 1min Level IV;
  • 2min Level II RI between sets
  • 10min CD Level II;
  • 10min Stretching

The warm up (WU) should be done at an intensity that is steady but not over consuming at Level II for ten minutes.

The main set is made up of between four reps that you do two sets of. Start with the first rep lasting four minutes long and at Level IV and take a 60 second Rest Interval (RI) at Level II afterwards. The second rep is three minutes long and is also at Level IV, but you only get 40 seconds Rest Interval (RI) at Level II after. The third rep is two minutes long and at Level IV, but you only get 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI) at Level II this time. The last rep is once again at Level IV and is only one minute long. After the last rep take a two minute Rest Interval at Level II before repeating the set for a second time.

The Cool Down (CD) is at a low intensity, jogging (Level II) for a minimum of ten minutes.

Finish with 10 minutes stretching to assist with the recovery.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant and is a prominent triathlon and marathon coach in New Zealand.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

If you enjoyed this workout, here is a workout I published 12 months ago:

Friday Fartlek: 2x 12min + 2x 6min

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For more great workouts see Coach Ray’s eBook: ‘Top 10 Workouts from Coach Ray – The Ten Most Popular Training Sessions from”.  Use the workouts within the eBook to enhance your fitness.

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