Coaches’ Fartlek Training

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When I was a (pretty) young sports science student my favourite training method was Fartlek training. Basically, Fartlek training is an endurance / interval training method which uses the environment in which you are exercise to prompt changes in speed and intensity. For example, sprint uphill, jog downhill. Or sprint to the next sign post, jog for the next three, sprint for the next two etc. I liked it because it was random and different and the least boring method of endurance training. I like games. Endurance training is boring. It was not my favourite training method because of the word ‘fart’ in the name. Probably.

When I do endurance training on a bike or cross trainer or whatever, I normally I listen to podcasts and choose the ‘random’ function to have at least a little variety in such a fundamentally dull activity. But recently due to the lockdown and exercising at home instead of a real gym, I have started to watch volleyball games while exercising. And to create that crucial element of variety I have dug into the old uni notes and developed a Fartlek system.

In Fartlek training the intensity changes with the terrain. In adapting to a volleyball game, the obvious ‘landmark’ is rotation order. So… pick a team, decide which rotation equals which level / intensity and go appropriately. I normally choose P1 as the highest level. You will find yourself hoping for service errors, despairing of teams that always, always get stuck in P1 (eg 2004-06 Brazil!!) and best of all, it is a really good way to follow and keep track of the game. And you get a workout as your going.


The total of 82 practical Coaching Tips can be found here and here.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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