Fartlek- The art of… Swimming?!

We’ve heard of a Fartlek Run.. But what about a Fartlek Swim?! Yesterday my workout looked something similar to this:

Warm Up
Main Set-
         20min: as 100 yards Zone 4, 50 yards Zone 2
        10min: as 50 yards Zone 5, 50 yards easy
Cool Down

A Fartlek is mostly known to runners as a form of interval training that consists of bursts of intense effort followed by less strenuous effort. The benefits of this type of exercise far outweigh the name!


1. It is universal to all
Whether you are in the pool swimming or out for a long run, it is easy to incorporate high intensity intervals in your training.. Plus it’s nice to mix things up. Sprint to the next house you see, then walk until you’re ready.. Run to the stoplight.. Then slow it down a bit.. You get the picture. The same goes for swimming! Sprint as hard as you can to the wall, now swim easy all the way back or choose a different stroke (such as backstroke) to lower your heart rate back down before you sprint again. No matter how long or short the distance, it can easily be incorporated in ever athlete’s workout regimen- beginner or advanced.

2. It’s great for weight loss
The short burst of energy you use to sprint to that house or to the end of the pool, uses anaerobic oxygen (without oxygen) and is fueled by glycogen. Glycogen is your carbohydrates that are stored in the body. Once these glycogen stores are depleted, the body only has one other fuel source- FAT!

3. It prevents boredom
Sometimes I “zone out” when I go for a long run and lose a sense of purpose for the workout I am doing. Doing a Fartlek workout helps keep things interesting. If you are a beginner it might be something similar to jogging for 2 minutes and walking for 3, repeat. If you are more advanced in your training you might be looking at 400 meters (0.25 miles) as a hard steady effort, followed by an easy, slow 200 meters recovery.. Then repeat!


You can clearly see the benefits of a Fartlek in your running routine, so why aren’t more athletes incorporating this wonderful continuous effort in our swimming?

I challenge you all today to go try out this new way of training in the pool. With the benefits listed above, why wouldn’t you?! I am all for mixing things up and trying out new workouts, hope you all feel the same!

Happy Swimming to all- Go get your Fartlek on!!



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