Tempo with the Mona Fartlek


This is one of my favorite workouts because it has a wide range of paces throughout and it’s great for working towards distances from 3K to half marathon.

The tempo run is the easy part of the workout. I added this to the workout to get the legs a little tired first before hitting the faster work. That way it would replicate more a race type fatigue towards the end of the workout.

After the tempo run, you recover and then go into a fartlek that gets steadily faster throughout until you are all out towards the end. As the reps shorten you should be running at a faster pace and your recovery reduces so you have to focus hard to complete this. I always find the last reps of 15 seconds the hardest because by the time you’ve slowed down from running the rep, you’re back to hitting the next one hard.

The Mona fartlek was named after the famed Australian runner, Steve Monaghetti, who used the workout to get ready for all events up to 5K. The fitter you are, the faster the float pace should be. The float shouldn’t just be very slow recovery running like in many workouts. A good place to start would be around your easy run pace. You can then move to a faster float pace when you are fitter and you repeat the workout.

You can find your optimal running paces using the McMillan Running Calculator.

Warm up for 15 to 20 minutes

20 minute tempo run

800m jog recovery

Mona Fartlek:

2 x 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds float

4 x 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds float

4 x 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds float

6 x 15 seconds hard, 15 seconds float

Cool down for 15 to 20 minutes

Training for a 5K? Read 5K Race Week Workouts: Fine Tuning for Your Fastest 3.1-Miler.


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Written By Greg McMillan
Called “one of the best and smartest distance running coaches in America” by Runner’s World’s Amby Burfoot, Greg McMillan is renowned for his ability to combine the science of endurance performance with the art of real-world coaching. While getting his graduate degree in Exercise Science he created the ever-popular McMillan Running Calculator – called “The Best Running Calculator” by Outside Magazine. A National Champion runner himself, Greg coaches runners from beginners to Boston Qualifiers (15,000+ and counting!) to Olympians.

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