Run Fartlek

Friday Fartlek Run: Track Ladder Workout

Speedwork is an important skill set for all runners, it can provide improvements in your VO2 Max and enhance your threshold running ability. This is a great session for all runners and triathletes, especially those running events between 5km & half marathon but will also provide benefit to those doing a marathon distance too.

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.

The inspiration for this post came from an article on Sports Coaching’s website, you can read the full article here. They credit Hicham El Guerrouj with the workout. Hicham is the legendary Moroccan runner who won 4 World titles over 1,500m, held the World Records for 1,500m, 1 mile, and 2,000m, and won the Olympic Gold medals over 1,500m and 5,000m at the Athen’s Olympics in 2004.

Track Ladder Workout

  • 10min WU Level II;
  • 1,600m Level V (15-20sec slower than race pace), 60sec RI;
  • 1,200m Level V (10-15sec slower than race pace), 50sec RI;
  • 800m Level V (5-10sec slower than race pace), 40sec RI;
  • 600m Level V (at race pace), 30sec RI;
  • 400m Level V (slightly faster than race pace);
  • 10min CD Level II;
  • 10min Stretching

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) of ten minutes of easy jogging at Level II.

The Main Set is made up of progressively shorter, but faster repetitions. Start with 1 mile/1,600m at Level V, but hold back slightly about 15-20 seconds off race pace. Rest for 60 seconds.

For the second rep run 1,200m at Level V, holding back 10-15 seconds off race pace (for the mile). Rest for 50 seconds.

The third rep is 800m long at Level V. Run this rep just off race pace 5-10 seconds slower than race pace for the mile. Take a 40-second Rest Interval (RI).

Next up is a 600m repetition run at race pace (Level V) with a 30-second Rest Interval (RI) prior to the last set.

Finish with a 400m rep run at Level V slightly faster than race pace.

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.

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

Price: $ 0.00

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Prior to using this plan, you should be able to run for greater than 60 minutes.

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