Fartlek Training Advantages and Disadvantages
There are many different advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training to be cognizant of. Before starting this technique, you should ask yourself what your goals are and if fartlek training is a method that can really help you to accomplish them. Nevertheless, fartlek training is used by thousands upon thousands of athletes all over the world. And for good reason.
We all know that this training method is highly beneficial for nearly every type of athlete insofar as they’re sport requires aerobic efforts. Be that as it may, depending on your aspirations, this training protocol can bring light to numerous disadvantages that can greatly hinder your progress toward your goals. So, with that being said, the advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training are indeed relative and will be dependent upon your own individual aspirations.
What is fartlek training?
So, what is fartlek training anyway? Fartlek training, or “Speed play” as it’s also known, is a way of training that combines continuous and interval training. For example, in a typical fartlek run, you may manipulate your running speed from walking to sprinting, and everything in between within one individual training session. These changes in tempo are comprised into intervals.
This allows for maximal efforts without burning yourself out too quickly. It can be done outside, inside, in a pool, or even on a bike. There’s virtually no limit on how you can experience the many fartlek training advantages that are available.
Depending on what your goals are, there can be many advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training. It’s very important to know why you are training, or what your goals are in order to see if fartlek training is the right fit for you.
It can be virtually useless to you if your primary goal for training is to be great at the discus or the shot put for example. On the other hand, if you want to increase your VO2 Max, be able to endure longer bouts of exercise, lose fat, or just have a fun new cardio technique at your disposal, then this may be the perfect training technique for you, irregardless of how ridiculous “fartlek training” sounds when you say it.
As I have previously stated, if your goals are to increase your stamina (whether for a sport, event, or just for better health), decrease body-fat, to help relieve anxiety, or to just try out a new type of cardio, then fartlek training can be a highly beneficial weapon in your arsenal of exercise methods.
3 Fartlek Training Advantages
- Increases stamina: This training technique is very effective at helping you to improve your endurance greatly due to the interval aspect of it. Having the ability to sprint for 15 seconds, walk for 1 minute, jog for 2, and repeat allows you to conserve your energy better than all out heavy jogging.
- Weight loss: Using fartlek training will greatly increase your caloric expenditure. Thus, assisting in fat loss. The real beauty with fartlek training is that as you fatigue yourself with heavy running or sprinting, you can simply change the tempo to a slight jog or fast walk in order to “rest” before you increase your speed again. This helps you to exercise longer and burn more calories.
- Diversity: Most people don’t know about fartlek training, but once they do they realize what a highly effective and enjoyable experience this technique actually is. It can be beyond monotonous going through the same cardio session day in and day out. Fartlek training is great for mixing things up and putting a new spin on your exercise sessions.
3 Fartlek Training Disadvantages
As great as fartlek training can be for improving athletic ability and endurance, it can also hinder you from your goals, depending on what those goals are of course.
- You can burn muscle: If performed intensely enough, fartlek training can significantly break down your muscle tissue, just like with most intense types of cardio. If you don’t want this to happen, then you may want to decrease the frequency or duration of your fartlek training sessions.
- Difficult to use with machines: It can be an annoyance to train with quick spurts of varying tempos (i.e. walking, to sprinting, to jogging, to walking, etc.) while on a treadmill because your fingers would almost have to be glued to the resistance button in order to constantly switch from fast to slow and back to fast again. To combat this, I would suggest that you increase the duration of each speed you choose.
- Solo running: Given the way fartlek training is generally performed, it can be somewhat difficult to have a training partner along with you as you practice this technique. This is not only due the fact that you and your partner will both have to be in sync with each other, but that you will also need to have similar stamina levels in order to be able to keep up with each other too. I make these two points because there are usually many variations of sprinting, running, jogging, and fast walking in a typical fartlek training workout. However, as long as you are both in sync with each other and both have somewhat similar stamina levels, then it shouldn’t be much of a problem.