Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An athletic training technique, used especially in running, in which periods of intense effort alternate with periods of less strenuous effort in a continuous workout.
  • n. A workout using this technique.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An athletic training technique, used especially in running, in which periods of intense effort alternate with periods of less strenuous effort in a continuous workout.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a method of athletic training (especially for runners) in which strenuous effort and normal effort alternate in a continuous exercise

Etymologies

Swedish, speed play : fart, running, speed (from fara, to go, move, from Old Norse) + lek, play (from leka, to play, from Old Norse leika).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Swedish. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Keflezighi acclimates his body through what's known as "fartlek" training, which involves a series of accelerations over the course of a run.

    A Runner and His…Entourage?

  • One of the most popular types of cardio training is interval training also known as fartlek running.

    ReadABlog.com New Blogs and RSS Feeds

  • Every so often a "fartlek" is called out and paddlers rev up and exert themselves for two or three minutes, raising the boat speed to 12 or 13 mph.

    columbiatribune.com stories

  • You don't find the word "fartlek" in the least bit amusing.

    Spence Smith - Connecting People To The World Of Travel, Fitness, Culture and Blogging

  • Then we do fartlek, tempo runs, interval ladders … what else?

    Again to Carthage

  • He had gone ten easy that morning, puttered around the house, graded some papers, taken a short nap, then did a three-mile warm-up and a twelve-mile run with five miles of fartlek pickups in the middle.

    Again to Carthage

  • He circled Thunder Lake twice and did several miles of fartlek on the way back, working the travel kinks out and enjoying his regained ability to select any pace he wanted for as long as he wanted.

    Again to Carthage

  • He piled up miles, ran imaginary races against long-absent foes on interval days, did incredible tempo and fartlek runs in the forest.

    Again to Carthage

  • That arm pedalo machine is handy aswell, especially when you increase the difficulty or make a bit of an arm fartlek out of it.

    Army Rumour Service

  • Track workouts, formation and fartlek runs develop the older drill instructors so they can keep up with young jocks just out of high school.

    Latest Articles

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Fartlek derives from the Swedish for "speed play," and runners actually use the term often -- and do so with a straight face, although that face might be sweaty and/or contorted if the runner is gasping out the term during a hard fartlek session.

    November 3, 2010

  • This could be a unit of astronomical speed. Like make the Kessel run in less than twelve fartleks

    June 24, 2009

  • dontcry might start to use multiples and submultiples.
    For example, I guess this is approx. a centihork.

    July 29, 2008

  • This word is AWESOME!!

    July 27, 2008

  • We should rate food, or indeed any old jot of repugnance, on a horkpower scale. Zero is fluffy rabbit safe, while disgustations max out at 1,000 horkpower.

    July 26, 2008

  • Horkpower?

    July 25, 2008

  • Actually, it's beginning to lose its considerable horkpower. We should look into conservation, and use alternate methods--er, I mean, words.

    July 24, 2008

  • I'm beginning to think not...

    July 24, 2008

  • Is nowhere on Wordie safe from your horking, dontcry?

    July 24, 2008

  • *hork*

    July 24, 2008

  • Wasn't there a movie?

    July 23, 2008

  • Kind of sounds like a town in North Dakota.

    July 23, 2008

  • My new motivation and exercise video will be called "From Fart To Fartlek".

    July 23, 2008

  • You're right. What were its parents thinking?

    July 23, 2008

  • Yeah, but seventh-graders can be nasty. Think how it was teased in middle school.

    July 23, 2008

  • I think it's kind of cute.

    July 23, 2008

  • Oh, what an unfortunate word. Poor, poor fartlek.

    July 23, 2008

  • And a fun word to teach to seventh-graders.

    January 24, 2008