Workout of the Week: 016 – Mixed Fartlek

It’s back to the trails we go! This week we’re doing a mixed fartlek session with a tasty combo of fast, steady and easy on the menu.

It’s one of those workouts that, when run correctly, leaves you absolutely pumped!

Mixed Fartlek – 6x the following 5-minute block over undulating terrain: 

  • 2mins steady
  • 1min easy
  • 30secs fast
  • 90secs easy

Terrain: Off-road, undulating, fun terrain!

Feels: Electrifying!

This workout combines many of the things us runners love … trails, intervals, speed, cruising, hills. And because it’s a fartlek workout, you’re free to let your body dictate the pace—so you’re not a slave to your GPS!


Throughout January we’re making an effort to hit multiple energy systems but with a constant theme of always doing some faster, controlled running in there.

Becoming comfortable with running fast—just below our maximum—is one of the best ways to develop great technique and also improve your efficiency and mental approach when it comes to running faster for longer at slower speeds.


The workout takes 30 minutes total (6x 5-minute blocks) and the paces are as follows:

  • 2mins Steady: This will be at your 60-min race pace or what we you’re your lactate threshold. Don’t worry about getting the pace exact, just run at an intensity you think you can hold for one hour non-stop.
  • 30secs Fast: This is NOT a sprint. They’re fast controlled runs at about your 4th gear of 5. It’s about the pace you could hold for 5 minutes flat out.
  • Easy: This pace should be a little slower than your weekend long run pace. Itshould allow your heart rate to return to a normal jogging hear rate.




Thanks to modern gadgets we can track every step and mile we run and use these metrics as goals and performance measures. But is this tracking of mileage always a good thing? And should we always aim for more mileage?


Not always. Here’s why:

ONE. First of all, focusing on just doing more almost always leads to injury as runners.

TWO. Also, viewing our training as just mileage is a one-dimensional view of our training that doesn’t take into account the quality we get through (like the TempoFit Workout of the Weeks you might do every Tuesday!).

THREE. It doesn’t consider the general stress we might be going through like pressures at home, family and health that all affect our ability to absorb and adapt to our training.

FOUR. Finally, while we like to assume we can handle linear progressions in mileage (like 10% extra each week), our bodies and minds are definitely not linear. They usually take a few steps backwards, as they absorb a new training stress, before taking a few steps forward as they finally adapt to those stresses. We need to be patient with our bodies as they take the circuitous journey toward fitness!

So, by all means, use mileage as one of your process goals for 2020. But also include other process like doing something to prevent injury each week, working on technique, improving nutrition, cross training, adding in more quality, cross training  and so on.

Don’t just focus on mileage—become a holistic runner. Your body will thank you for it!