Fartlek. It’s a fun word to say; you might even get a few snickers when you tell your class you are going to do fartlek drills!
A fartlek is a Swedish word for “speed play” and implies unstructured intervals. Years ago when I ran cross-country in high school, we used to do fartleks when running as a group. Our coach would say while out on a run, “See that sign way up there? Pick up the pace and race to it.”
There are fun ways you can use fartleks in your indoor cycling classes. You can either increase your resistance against a constant cadence or increase your cadence against a set resistance, or do a combination of both if you want a larger increase in output. Do these on a flat road or climb, increasing your effort while seated or standing—all that matters is that power increases and it feels a little bit harder during the surge/interval.
I like to use the music to define a surge in effort, either on the chorus or when there’s a change in energy.
Below are five options for implementing fartlek drills into your classes.