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Fartlek vs. Interval vs. Tempo (Read 7890 times)

    Can someone please explain to me what the differences are between fartlek, interval, and tempo runs? And what is the purpose of each? I keep trying to figure it out and only confuse myself. Confused


    I've got a fever...

      Real quick explanations 1. Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play." These are random bursts of speed of random length/duration. It's a fun way of doing some fast running without structure. I used to do it by saying, "I'm gonna run fast for the next three telephone poles" or something like that. These runs help train your body to run fast, but without the pressure of running certain distances, number of reps, or times. 2. Intervals are usually shorter distance fast repetitions, often done on a track. An example would be to run 6x800m with 3 minute recoveries. This means you run 800m fast (at the pace you might run a 5k or faster), then jog 3 minutes really easy to recover. Repeat a total of 6 times. Standard interval distances are 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1600m. These are "red-line" type workouts which force your body to run under duress. Interval training increases your overall speed, you VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen your system can uptake -- more is better), but are usually strenuous enough to not be undertaken more than twice a week, and only then after you've developed a mileage base. These are the tune-up you do in the 8~12 weeks prior to a big race, not a year-round type workouts. The longer your target race, typically the longer the interval. Most interval workouts are done at 5k pace or faster. I should note that intervals do not have to always be distance based, nor do all intervals have to be the same length. Examples would be 5 x 3 minutes fast with 3 minute recoveries, or a time based interval like this one, which is one of my favorites. 3. Tempo runs are 20~30 minute runs done at a pace 10~20 seconds per mile slower than your 10k pace. These sustained efforts are done after a mile or two of easy jogging, and are usually followed by a mile or two of cool-down. Thus, a typically tempo run would be 2mi easy warm-up / 20 min TEMPO / 2 mile easy cool-down. These runs help your body tolerate a relatively fast pace for a longer duration -- they are good endurance workouts, and are especially good for 15k and up training.

      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

      Scout7


      CPT Curmudgeon

        For the record, tempo runs do not necessarily have to correspond to 10K time. Pfitzinger has some that are at 15k pace, some at marathon pace, some at 10k pace. It depends on what the goal of the training session is.
          And sometimes, like this morning when it was muggy as hell and the air quality was for shit, tempo pace can equal marathon pace or slower. Go by feel.

          Runners run.

            Thanks!


            I've got a fever...

              True, Tempo runs can be carried out at a variety of paces ranging from 10k~marathon. 10~20"/mile slower than 10k pace has always been my favorite definition b/c that's right about where the lactate threshold pace occurs, and that's what comes to mind for me when I think tempo. I also think of it as 20~30 minutes at a pace they I could probably sustain for 40~60 minutes. ] Bottom line is that it's a sustained effort slightly outside your comfort zone. It's not race pace, but it definitely shouldn't feel easy.

              On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

              mbk


                A related workout I enjoy is an Acceleration Tempo. After a warmup, do a mile at 15k or 10k pace, then make each mile faster until you arrive at a 5k pace or faster. I think this is good training for longer distance racing since it forces you to speed up but to manage your speed so you can continue to speed up throughout the workout (if you can't keep speeding up, then you mismanaged your pace earlier). It also gives you practice finishing strong and fast, which can help with even or negative splits.
                richardg


                  Everything is a tempo run for me. My pace varies little from 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon. My lastest race -- 1/2 marathon, at 1:29. I can't go much faster for shorter distances. Even when I start 'slow', I creep up to a 7:15 pace, HR155. Any advise on how to vary run paces to improve times.
                  Scout7


                  CPT Curmudgeon

                    Assuming that you've been running for awhile, you have the exact opposite problem of most people. You have a good base but no speed. What you need to do is work on the speed, work on your ability to run at your lactate threshold. You should look into doing intervals, and hill training.


                    I've got a fever...

                      What you need to do is work on the speed, work on your ability to run at your lactate threshold. You should look into doing intervals, and hill training.
                      Agreed. Without seeing your log, we can't say much. But the fact is that the only way to train your body to run fast is through fast running. Your half time of 1:29 is very solid, and indicates that you could be able to do some pretty good times at shorter races. The 7:15 155bpm thing indicates that your body kind of goes on cruise control. You'll need to upset that mode a little bit and do some short running that forces you out of your comfort zone (400m, 800, 1600m intervals at faster paces / higher heart rates).

                      On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.