If you only have 30 minutes to run, an interval run will give you the most effective workout In the least amount of time. No matter what you are training for—a 5K race, marathon, or health and fitness—this fartlek run will improve both your speed and help you run faster at the end of a race or run when tired.
- 5 minutes easy run
- Run 12 x 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy
- 5 minutes easy run
Fartlek runs are run by time and effort, versus pace and distance of interval workouts such as 400 meter repeats. Based on your pace, a workout could take you 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Running intervals by time guarantees that this workout will fit into your busy schedule—no matter what pace you run.
Each hard interval is one minute in duration, with an equal amount of time for recovery between each interval. The short intervals and short recovery time allows you to get in a higher volume of harder running in a very short workout—perfect for when you want to get faster without spending all day on the track.
The goal of this workout is to run a negative split—which means that each mile is faster than the previous one. To achieve a negative split, the intervals are run faster as the workout progresses. The first 4 intervals should be run at a hard but controlled effort—approximately 10K race effort. These will feel comfortably hard, especially for the short duration of the intervals. The middle 4 intervals should be a 5K race effort, which is a hard effort but not all-out. The last 4 intervals should be the fastest of the set, close to mile pace effort if possible. These final 4 intervals will feel very hard, but at least you only have to push for a minute at a time.
Since the intervals are run at a challenging pace, you do not want to skip the warm-up or cool down of this run. Use the five minute warm up to ease into running and then gradually slow down during the cool down. If you have more time available, you can extend the warm-up and cool down to 10-15 minutes each. You can track the workout on Runkeeper here with helpful audio cues to keep you on track.