Fartlek Workout

Friday Fartlek Run: Using a 5km Time Trial to Enhance Your Fitness & Set Your Training Paces

A 5km Time Trial (TT) will provide you with a great training stimulus regardless of what distance you are training for (especially 10km and half marathon distances). You can also utilise the time you achieve to set training Pace Zones to enhance your training.

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 runners often use and it means speed-play. See a previous post about training intensity (levels) to know how hard to work.

This is shorter and more intense than last week’s workout and is more suited for athletes doing shorter distance races, but can still be useful for those doing marathons and longer.

5km TT

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 3x 1min Level IV, 30sec Level II RI;
  • 5km TT Level IV (achieving the best possible time that you can);
  • 10min CD Level II;
  • 10min Stretching

Before you commence make sure you have a pre-measured 5km course to use. The best one to use is a 400m athletics track and run 12.5 laps of it (ignore what your Garmin says because running in circles confuses the GPS and I can guarantee that it won’t read 5km even though that is precisely what you’ve run).

Other options are to run 2.5km out on a relatively flat road, then turn around and run back. If you can pre-position a cone or something at the start/finish and at the turning point all the better to make sure you recognise these points when you are fatigued and giving it your all.

The warm-up should be done at an intensity that is steady but not overconsuming at Level II for ten minutes.

Then to ensure your body is fully prepared and to lift your Heart Rate (HR) to a similar level you will use in your Time Trial, increase your effort to Level IV for 60 seconds, then have a 30-second Rest Interval (RI) at Level II. Repeat this a total of three times.

The main set is made up of a single 5km Time Trial (TT). Run this section as fast as you possibly can. I advise my athletes to aim to run the first third fast, the second third faster, and the final third fastest.

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

Finish with 10 minutes of stretching to assist with the recovery.

Once you have completed your run you can review your Time Trial result and either establish or adjust existing training zones. If you haven’t assessed your Training Zones in the last eight weeks it might pay to re-establish them based on your current level of fitness. If you have done a 5km TT in the last 6 weeks and in this one you have gone faster or more than a minute slower than your last one then also re-establish them. If you are less than a minute slower than a TT you have done in the last six weeks then leave the training zones the same for now.

Watch this video to see the process.

Whilst logged into Training Peaks, click on your name in the top right, go down, and select Settings. On the left-hand side of the window that opens go down and select Zones then Speed/Pace. Under Auto Calculation choose Type to equal Distance/Time; then choose Method to equal PZI (10); next select test Distance to equal 5km and then click the radio button (circle) beside Duration and enter your time in the hr: min: sec format. Then click Calculate. Your new training zones will be displayed along with your previous zones below them. Click Apply.

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 coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729.

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Download the Garmin (.FIT) files for this workout for FREE

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

Friday Fartlek Run: Goater’s Pyramid

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


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