A group of happy runners turning a corner

Group Fartlek

  • Best for groups of similar ability
  • A good session for hitting a mix of paces and intensities
  • Idea for group of 2-12 runners
  • Works well in parks

Group fartleks are a great way of including some variety in group runs.

The Session

Set out jogging in a group. Each member of the group takes a turn at picking a running pace/intensity and a duration. The whole group runs as instructed and then jogs as a recovery. The person due to choose the next pace and duration also decides how long to jog and recover for.

The group members continue taking turns, varying the paces and durations for each repetition as desired.

This session works well in a park where you don't have to worry too much about roads or traffic and is good for runs of about 15-30 minutes. Adding time on to the start and end of the run for warm up/cool down/extra miles is a good approach.

Group Size

This session works quite nicely in pairs of similar ability, and for groups of up to about 12 runners.

Real World Example

There is a group of five runners and the session is taking place around a large park with varying terrain.

Following a 20-minute warm-up jog the first runner in the group decides that the group will run at a moderate pace to the top of a hill.

After a 30-second jog recovery the second runner instructs the group to sprint between two trees placed about 40 meters apart.

The third runner decides on a slightly longer recovery jog of a couple of minutes before instructing everybody to run at 5k pace to a dog walker about 300 meters in the distance.

The fourth runner's turn comes up as the group are heading down a hill and they instruct the group to work hard all the way to the bottom.

The fifth runner - to everybody's objection - decides that the group should turn around and run all the way back up the hill, alternating running hard/easy for ten seconds at a time.

The runners continue to take turns picking paces and distances for 20 minutes and then finish with a 10-minute jog.


It's best to pick a certain object or landmark to run to rather than a time for which to run.

Try and accommodate a range of abilites by offering rest options occasionally. For example, athletes could choose to either rest or to sprint to a lampost and back.


Beware of running faster sections on public roads and try to avoid fast sections that take the group across traffic. It's easy to lose concentration when running hard and in a group.