The legs of two runners on a track with a red cone in the background

Cone Fartlek

  • Good for introducing a mix of speeds to beginner groups
  • Works endurance, acceleration and speed
  • Ideal for both individuals and groups of up to eight athletes
  • Good for the running track and parks

A cone fartlek is a good way to organise a fartlek over a shorter distance and to introduce different speeds to relative beginners.


10-20 cones of four or five different colours

Setting Up

Use a lap of the running track or identify a loop of about 200-400m in a park. Place the coloured cones in a random order around the track/loop, separating each by at least 20 meters.


Each colour of cone is associated with a different running speed. Each time an athlete encounters a cone of a particular colour they run at the pace associated with that colour of cone until they reach the next cone, whereupon they switch to the new required pace. They do this for the entire loop.

Group Size

This can be done as an individual session and also works well for up to about eight athletes. If larger groups are desired then athletes can begin at different points around the loop.

Real World Example

There is a group of seven moderately-experienced athletes of mixed ability and the session is taking place at an athletics track.

20 cones of four different colours - red, blue, green and white - are distributed at 20 meter intervals around the track, on the boundary between lanes two and three.

Colours are associated with the following paces:

Colour Pace
Red 5000 meter
Blue 3000 meter
Green 1500 meter
White Jog

The stronger athletes line up in lanes three and four and the other athletes line up in lanes one and two.

The stronger athletes also start a couple of cones back (so about 40 meters) from the other athletes to try and ensure that everybody finishes at roughly the same time and has a similar recovery.

They complete six laps in all, taking a 60-second recovery between each.


Accommodate different abilities by assigning different running speeds to the cones for different athletes.


Athletes should be instructed to overtake others on the outside.

Remember to warm up before your session and cool down afterwards.