Definition of fartlek in US English:



  • A system of training for distance runners in which the terrain and pace are continually varied to eliminate boredom and enhance psychological aspects of conditioning.

    • ‘Also called fartlek training, intervals are used by competitive endurance athletes for improving speed and conditioning.’
    • ‘In phase three, formalize your fartlek training by replacing it with strict intervals.’
    • ‘This weekly program devotes four days to recovery training and two to aerobic and threshold training, via fartlek or ‘speed play’ exercise.’
    • ‘On a specific route, landmarks can be used to change speed and direction and drills, such as the crocodile, back to front and fartlek, thrown in to add variety.’
    • ‘The basics of fartlek is to vary your training routine, have fun and invent new things to do.’


1940s: from Swedish, from fart ‘speed’ + lek ‘play’.