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Controlled Fartlek

A pacing exercise that teaches runners how much energy they need to sustain different paces and trains the body to control and respond to changes in speed

Tags: high school, pacing



  1. Have runners begin jogging.
  2. Periodically call out a different pace and have runners adjust their speed accordingly.

Performance Points:

  • Include four or more paces. Use walk, jog, run, and sprint, or be more specific and have athletes run segments at their mile pace, 5K pace, and so on.
  • Call each pace multiple times and vary the length of time you have runners maintain a given pace.
  • Be practical about how often you call each pace and how long you have each pace last. Here are suggested guidelines:
    • Sprint segments: 10-30 seconds
    • Running and jogging segments: 30 seconds-5 minutes
    • Walking segments: 15-45 seconds
    • Spend most of the time on jogging and running
    • Space out the sprints to allow for sufficient recovery
  • Instruct your runners to maintain each pace until you call out the next one.
  • Don't let different paces, such as a jog and a full run, blur into the same speed.
  • Don't expect the group to stay together. Some runners will end up covering more distance than others, which is fine.
  • After the run, talk to your runners about how it felt to run the different paces and distances.

Training Specifics:


  • As the main workout (30-45 minutes)
  • Or as a complementary training activity (10-15 minutes)

You Need: A track or looped course where all runners are within earshot


  • Helps runners learn how much energy they need to sustain difference paces
  • Trains the body to control and respond to changes in speed

Other Pacing Videos

Time Trials

A pacing exercise that establishes a baseline for each runner's fitness level and pacing skill, and provides an opportunity to practice pacing and monitor progress

Tags: high school, pacing

Running Rewards

A pacing exercise and fun team competition that trains runners to identify the effort it takes to run at their goal race pace and teaches them how to monitor their speed

Tags: high school, pacing

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission