Increase your hiking speed with Fartlek intervals
Using Fartlek intervals is an easy and very effective way to improve your hiking endurance and speed. Fartelk means “speed play” in Swedish and it’s a really simple interval method to add into any training hike. This is a great way to boost endurance and conditioning, improve your speed for climbing hills, and fight off boredom. Let’s jump in!
What is a Fartlek Interval?
It’s so simple, you might not think it can do so much for you. There’s little in the way of “structure” for the intervals and that’s what makes it so easy and appealing. Essentially, you increase your speed and output for a short distance and then slow down to recover your heart rate. Once you’ve recovered, you’ll repeat. Here’s the beauty of fartlek intervals: it’s for an undetermined distance.
I pick a tree, rock, plant, or feature that I want to increase my pace to. It may be 50 feet away or 500 feet away. The steepness of the trail will usually play a factor. Once I have my target, I up my intensity and speed until I reach it. Once there, I slow down and let my heart rate recover and muscles recoup from the effort. Once I feel back to normal, I pick my next target and go again.
These can be done up hill, flat ground, and even downhill. Such a simple technique to practice and implement, it should be worth of your consideration.
Implementing these simple intervals is super easy! Not only that, these will help improve your speed, endurance and keep you mentally engaged during your hike. By introducing some simple intervals, you begin to challenge and expose the body to faster speeds for a short distance. In time, this increases your capacity to handle faster speeds for longer periods of time.
Give these a try on your next outing or walk in your neighborhood.