Commonly Used Running Terms

There are many terms runners throw out there. Here is a little cheat sheet to make sure that we’re on the same page! 

Varied training: In order to get the most out of your efforts you must vary your training. By introducing different loads on your body, you’ll maximize your speed, fitness and endurance. 

That means every run has a purpose, whether it be to challenge your ability to go all out anaerobically (work at a high enough level that your body is relying on it’s reserves rather than on oxygen to fuel your muscles), or going easy. 

Fartlek: Roughly translated to ‘speed play’. A run that incorporates easy and hard running typically done based on effort. 

Tempo: Sustained effort working on endurance and fatigue resistance. Think of this one as being outside your comfort zone, but sustainable for longer periods. 

Intervals: Working on your upper level of speed, usually for shorter periods, to help increase fitness. 

Long run: In order to cross the finish line, you are going to have to get the time on your feet. This is the perfect place to practice strategies to respond to mental and physical fatigue. It is inevitable that a voice will show up on race day telling you that the discomfort is too much. How will you turn that voice into fuel? 

Recovery run: A key to varied training is keeping the easy days easy and the hard days hard. No one is winning the race on the recovery run. 

Progression run: The idea of a progression run is to start easy and then get faster. Why? We think they’re really fun, but they’re also a great tool to boost fitness (mental and physical!) without creating a ton of fatigue. 

Strides: A short acceleration, typically 60-150m or 15-30 seconds, meant to work on leg turn over and good running form. Think of stepping up and over a small hurdle (i.e. mid-shin), pushing the ground away from you as you accelerate. 

Cross training: A form of cardio other than running meant to work on the aerobic system, without overloading the physical system. Think biking, elliptical, swimming. 

Rest days: Often just as important as the workout days, rest days mean doing everything you can to allow your body to absorb all that hard work and be ready to nail it in your upcoming workouts. In order to allow your body to adapt and gain fitness you must allow it to rest. Training through chronic fatigue is a recipe for injury, underperforming and burnout!