What is a fartlek?
According to Wikipedia, Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a form of interval training which puts stress on the whole aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of the exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that both aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed can be varied whenever the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.
Quick example of a farltek run: Run as fast as you can for 100m (or to that light post), then jog at a steady pace for a little, then run as fast as you can to the fire hydrant, (or 200m). Completely unstructured, which makes a fartlek run awesome. Mainly because I am not a big fan of running, so anything that will break up the monotony is a blast for me.
But we are not here to talk about running fartleks. We’re here to talk about CrossFit Fartleks.
My CrossFit Fartlek Story
Once upon a time, on a dark cold night, I was sitting on my computer, much like I am now, on a rest day, much like today…then it hit me! A sudden urge to workout. Not a subtle feeling like, “ehh maybe I should just workout a little today”. No! A sudden URGE like I was on some sort of roid rage (no I do not take steroids). I had to run somewhere, lift something, or do anything. I did not have time to figure out what I wanted to do. I just had to do it. It took about 3.5 seconds from when I got this urge till I had shoes on and was out the door. No warm-up….No stretching…I was gone.
I started with a very fast run for about 1.5 miles. I thought perhaps if I were to sprint 1.5 miles I would have lost this possessed like feeling….Nope…I got home and still had to do something, anything. I had 135lbs. on the bar from the previous day’s workout. I grabbed it and thought to myself, what lift will just destroy me. First thing that came to mind, the full squat clean. I have no idea how many reps I completed, but I did squat cleans at 135 lbs until I just couldn’t do another rep. A little winded. I still wanted to do more. While I was hunched over trying to catch my breath I saw a black iron beast staring at me, the 2 pood kettle bell. I grabbed the kettle bell and went into my front yard where I would be able to drop the weight in the grass, for I knew the kettle bell and I were about to do battle. Mind you, this is all happening around 10:00 pm. I begin 2 pood kettle bell swings and would drop only when my legs or grip would give out. I would try to pick up the kettle bell almost as soon as it would hit the ground. Over, and over, and over…until it was finished. I was defeated, laying on the ground trying to gather my thoughts as to what just happened. The urge was gone. I had beaten it…or it had beaten me. Still not sure.
Now that all my readers think I am crazy…let’s continue.
The CrossFit Fartlek
Let’s not forgot what fitness is all about. Training doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. Mix it up, invite a friend to the fartlek party.
I don’t recommend the no stretch, no warm-up, weirdness that I completed. However, I do recommend some sort of CrossFit Fartlek. While that workout kicked my ass, it was a lot of fun. No structure. No rounds. No time. No reps. Who cares? I had fun and improved my conditioning a little bit in the process. Don’t make this your training plan, but you should try it at least once. Let’s show the world we did something before we die!
Today, tomorrow, sometime this week try a CrossFit Fartlek.
Just make sure you have a few items laying around that you can pick up or throw around. That is about all the planning you want. Now go out there and do a bunch of random crap, safely, until you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. Trust me; you will have a great time.