Friday Fartlek Run: Runner's World Gear Shifter - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Friday Fartlek Run: Runner’s World Gear Shifter

This session is great to improve speed for runners aiming for an event between 5km and a half marathon (and even out to a marathon). It is perfect for road runners, trial runners and triathletes alike.

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.

I originally got the idea for this workout from a Runner’s World article, but I can no longer locate the original source of it.

Runner’s World Gear Shifter

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 1,200m Level IV, 2min RI Level II;
  • 800m Level V, 2min RI Level II;
  • 400m Level V, 2min RI Level II;
  • 800m Level V, 2min RI Level II;
  • 1,200m Level IV;
  • 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 five reps done in an inverted pyramid fashion. The first and last reps are done at Level IV intensity over 1,200m (or three laps of the athletics track). The second and fourth reps are over 800m (two laps) at Level V effort and the third rep is over 400m (a single lap) and is done at Level V intensity, but you should be running faster than the previous Level V efforts. Between each rep jog at Level II for two minutes for your Rest interval (RI).

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.

To improve your 5km Time by over 2:30 in ONLY 5 Weeks get my most popular run programme here. Results Guaranteed. Use discount code CR30 to get a 30% discount.


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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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