Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Run Sessions Triathlon Training

Friday Fartlek Run: 4-3-2-1 VO2 Max

This session is a great way to increase your VO2 max. By repeatedly running at high intensity 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 VO2 max

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 2 sets of
    • 4min Level V, 4 min Level II RI;
    • 3min Level V, 3min Level II RI;
    • 2min Level V, 2min Level II RI;
    • 1min Level V;
  • 5min 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 V and take a four minute Rest Interval (RI) at Level II afterwards. The second rep is three minutes long and is also at Level V, and you also get an equal amount of rest with a three minute Rest Interval (RI) at Level II after it. The third rep is two minutes long and at Level V, with a two minute Rest Interval (RI) at Level II. The last rep is once again at Level V and is only one minute long. After the last rep take a five 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 me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729.

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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.
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