Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Fartlek Training
Run Sessions Triathlon Training

Friday Fartlek Run: Improve Your 5km Time With This Workout

This is a hard VO2 Max workout that develops your ability to sustain your top end speed. This training session  is perfect for all runners, as well as triathletes.

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.

Usually I put my focus on running pace with sessions and this session still requires that for when you are running, but the recovery aspect of this session is controlled by HR. You rest until your Heart Rate (HR) drops below 120bpm. If you don’t have a HR monitor you can easily count your pulse at your wrist. Counting for 6 seconds your count would need to be 12 beats to equal 120bpm.

VO2 Max 2x 800m, 4x 400m, 6x 200m

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 2x 800m Level V, RI until HR<120;
  • 4x 400m Level V, RI until HR<120;
  • 6x 200m Level V, RI until HR<120;
  • 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 body of the workout is made up of three sets.

The first set is two repetitions of 800m, run as fast as you can. Between the reps and prior to the second set allow your Heart Rate (HR) to drop below 120bpm.

The second set is four reps of 400m, run as fast as you can. Between the reps and prior to the final set allow your Heart Rate (HR) to drop below 120bpm.

The third and final set is six reps of 200m, run as fast as you can. Between the reps allow your Heart Rate (HR) to drop below 120bpm.

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.

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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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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