Get fitter on every ride with Fartlek

Speedplay interval training gives you benefits not boredom

Many mountain bikers have an awareness of how interval training can benefit fitness – but most of us would far rather concentrate on just hitting the trails.

Fartlek (stop sniggering, it means 'speedplay' in Swedish) is a less structured approach to interval training, based on gauging your effort on a scale of one to 10, where one is where you literally couldn't pedal any slower, and 10 is the point where strain-induced vomiting isn't far away.

As you're riding, try setting mini-targets, like "I‘ll go 5/10 for the next five minutes, until I reach the next section of singletrack", or "8/10 to the crossroads up ahead". It's good to do this with friends, racing one another to landmarks and setting the pace – basically it doesn't get in the way of your ride being about getting on your bike and having fun.

Related: Get ready to ride with the car park warm-up

It's important to condition your body for high-intensity sections, by riding steadily for 15-20 minutess or by doing a warmup.

Also, be sensible and safe around where you do it – obviously that means not running red lights if you're on roads, and being aware of other users on the trail. If you’re a newbie as far as intense exercise goes, take a few weeks to build up – this will enable you to make long-term progress while avoiding injury.

Stay tuned for more videos from MTB Strength Factory in our Hacks series.

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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