Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nike: Training Terms

originally posted May 01, 2009 by Coach Jay


Hi Jay, I've been running a while, but I am new at the technical side of it. What does your terminology mean? Are "threshold workouts" something like "interval cardio" or is that "a fartlek run?" I assume "race pace" is a steady pace. Is there somewhere I can go to find the terminology? - - Thanks, Beth

Beth - Great question, though I'm going to put the majority of the work on you in my answer. I've been doing this Q&A for almost a year and if you can find the time, start going backwards through the responses as there are explanations of most of these terms, though I do not use the term "interval cardio" when discussing training.

Fartlek is a Sweedish term that simply means "speed play" and a fartlek workout is, in my mind, an elemental part of training, yet it takes several months to master. The simplest fartlek would be to put in 4 or 5 one minute segments where you run at a "comfortably hard" effort, taking as much time to run easy between those minute segments. Eventually you will make the "off" or "rest" interval more intense, yet you're likely a few months away from that.

The threshold run is different from the fartlek run because you don't change pace during the threshold segment, but rather maintain a "comfortably hard" pace for 10, 15 or even 20 minutes. You should start with a 10 minute warm-up (i.e. easy running) then try just 5 minutes at a "comfortably hard" pace, followed by 10-15 minutes of easy running as the cool down.

Finally, race pace is something that will change every year as it's the pace you can run for a given distance. I'm embarrassed to say that my current 5k race pace is likely a minute slower than it was just 10 short years ago, yet that's one the of the truths of running: "use it or loose it." You should run a 5k in the near future to get your 5k race pace as most training programs use this pace as part of a longer training plan.

I hope these help, and if you have time the time, dig through the previous Q&As for other examples.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.