Training Basics: Glossary

Photo by "Mike" Michael L. Baird flickr.bairdphotos.com

Every other Tuesday Salty Running will feature a post on training basics. Below are the basic training concepts that will be discussed in these posts with a definition of each. We will add to this glossary as new topics arise, so check back if you’re unsure what something means.

Intervals: Intervals are multiple stretches of running broken up with rest or easier running. Intervals are usually measured by distance. An example of an interval workout is 8 x 400 meters fast with 200 meter jogged rest in between.

Fartlek: (pronounced fart-lik) A fartlek is any run in which the pace varies throughout the run. Many runners define a fartlek as an interval workout in which the intervals are measured in time instead of distance. So an example of this would be 8 x 2:00 (two minutes) hard with 1:00 (one minute) jogged rest. However, a fartlek does not have to be measured at all–just a switch in tempo throughout a run.

Strides: Strides are short intervals (typically 20-30 seconds or about 80-150 meters) of controlled hard running with a longer break in-between. Strides are meant to prime them for harder workouts later in a training cycle. They may also be included in a training plan to loosen legs after a harder session the day before. They are also commonly used as part of a warm-up before a race or a hard run.

Tempo: Everyone seems to have their own definition of tempo run, but it almost always means a longer controlled continuous stretch of faster than easy running. Many training plans seem to favor half-marathon pace as tempo pace, but it can be anywhere from 10k-marathon pace. A typical tempo workout might be something like 20 minutes at current half-marathon pace within an hour run.

Progression Run: A progression run is easy to understand: it starts slow and ends fast, usually getting faster and faster as the run goes on. A sample progression run would be starting at easy pace and dropping the pace ten seconds a mile for 8 miles.

Long Run: A long run is, well, a long run! The actual length of a long run will depend on what you’re training for. For a veteran marathoner, a long run might be anything over 16. For a novice 5k runner, a long might be anything over 8. Long runs might sound pretty boring, but there is a lot of potential for excitement within a long run! They don’t have to be run at one pace and they can contain elements of the other types of training runs within them.

Easy Run: These are the bread and butter of most training weeks. These are the runs when you just go and run a nice conversational pace and finish feeling fresh (unless you’re in the throes of marathon training in August, but I digress).

Recovery Run: Recovery runs are usually pretty short and run, if not shuffled at a very easy pace.

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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