What is the Paarlauf Method?

The Paarlauf method, or Paarlauf training, is a competitive form of interval training and is not a very commonly used form of running. Paarluf means ‘pair run’, and it is a competitive relay for two or more people.

The relay comprises at least two teams of two runners, with one team member running whilst the other(s) rests, and can be used as a team version of a fartlek session. Formal areas to run the session include athletics tracks and informal can be areas marked out in outdoors/green spaces (i.e. a parks).

Although the exact structure differs, the distance of the race is (usually) unspecified with only a minimum and maximum time being given (so the runners can determine their pace), thus a race could last from 10 to 45 minutes. Number of laps can be used instead of a time.

After a certain time has elapsed – this time is decided prior to the race but unknown to the runners – the referee blows a whistle and the competitors ‘rest’ for a period of one minute. The winning team is the one who has carried the baton the furthest.

The two runners can decide how they wish to share the running. For example, they can either run interval quarter miles or every other furlong, jogging across the track to regain the baton.

As a training workout, the number of runners can be increased to a team of 4, 6 or 8. With 8 runners, they could spread out over 400 metres and move with the baton from 60-100 metres with about 55 seconds rest before the next effort.

You can find further information on interval training here.


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