Workouts

One-Hour Workout: Power Fartlek Pyramid Run

Build your pace and effort with this run fartlek pyramid.

This one-hour workout from pro triathlete and Ironman champion Meredith Kessler is a fun one that varies pace and effort as you work through your training zones. Although the workout is prescribed by training zones, we’ve also added RPE (rate of perceived exertion) for those who prefer to run by feel.

Begin with a four-minute easy run, building from zone one to zone two (RPE 3-5 out of 10), progressing to a four-minute continuous run as 30 seconds of strides in zone 4 (RPE 7-8 out of 10) followed by 30 seconds very easy in zone 1. Then the fartlek pyramid fun starts!

For the sake of easy translation, use these guidelines for training zones and RPE:

  • Zone one: RPE 3-4/10
  • Zone two: RPE 5-6/10
  • Zone three: RPE 6-7/10
  • Zone four: RPE 7-8/10
  • Zone five: RPE 8-10/10

Kessler said: “Be sure to pace yourself well so that there’s a real distinction between each segment of the pyramid. You’ll see that as the interval duration gets longer, the prescribed effort gets lower.”

Start with one minute aiming for middle zone four pace/effort, followed by one minute easy in zone one, then two minutes in lower zone four with two minutes easy in zone one. You’ll then progress with: three minutes in higher zone three, three minutes easy in zone one; four minutes in middle zone three, four minutes easy in zone one; five minutes in lower zone three, five minutes easy in zone one.

You’ll come back down the pyramid in a similar pattern: four minutes in higher zone three, four minutes easy in zone one; three minutes in lower zone four, three minutes easy in zone one; two minutes in middle zone four, two minutes easy in zone one, one minute in higher zone four, one minute easy in zone one.

Wrap it up with a five-minute cool-down (or longer if you have the time) and you’re done!

For more on training zones, check out our latest Fitter & Faster Podcast: Everything Triathletes Need to Know About Training Zones.

One-Hour Workout: Power Fartlek Pyramid Run

Warm-up

4 min. easy build from Z1 to Z2
4 min. continuous run as: 30 sec. strides in Z4; 30 sec. Z1 easy

Main Set

Note: L, M, and H refer to lower, middle, higher.

1 min. @ MZ4
1 min. @ Z1
2 min. @ LZ4
2 min. @ Z1
3 min. @ HZ3
3 min. @ Z1
4 min. @ MZ3
4 min. @ Z1
5 min. @ LZ3
5 min. @ Z1
4 min. @ HZ3
4 min. @ Z1
3 min. @ LZ4
3 min. @ Z1
2 min. @ MZ4
2 min. @ Z1
1 min. @ HZ4
1 min. @ Z1

Cool-down

5 min. easy jog