26 August 2016

Runner’s Glossary

Running has a bunch of confusing terms and lingo that are often used interchangeably. So to keep things simple and to explain many of the training tools we use in TempoFit here’s a complete glossary of running and training terminology.



Walk/Run: For beginner runners and those returning from injury, this approach to running will often be taken to allow the lungs, muscles and connective tissue to recover between running efforts. We use ratios, like 3:2, meaning the athlete is to walk for three minutes then run for two minutes on repeat. The walking should be brisk (6km/h or 10min/km) and the running should be controlled (for most beginner runners about 8-11km/h or 7:30-5:30min/km).

Easy Pace: This is your running pace that is conversational i.e. you’re not so out of breath that you could still speak to the person next to you throughout the run. Note that you shouldn’t be running so slow that you could still sing. 65-79% of max heart rate.

Recovery Run: This run will often follow a demanding workout or race (either the day after the event or between training intervals). It should be slower than your easy running pace and is designed to flush your legs out through gentle movement. For some people, a recovery run could include a significant amount of walking and if you have any niggles, switching to a fast walk may in fact be beneficial on this run.

Steady Pace: This is not a workout as such but it is up a notch from easy pace. For some, this will be about marathon pace, for others, this will be about half marathon pace. It’s a speed you could handle for 2-3 hours in a race setting. 80-89% of max heart rate.

Lactate Threshold Pace: This is the speed at which lactic acid begins to accumulate at an increasing rate in your body. It’s about the pace you could race at for one hour. 88-92% of max heart rate.

VO2Max Pace: This is the speed at which your lungs are pumping as much oxygen as they can. You may still be able to run faster, but this will just lead to oxygen debt. It’s around what you could hold in a 10-minute race. 98-100% of max heart rate.

Repetition Pace: Ideal for developing technique for all runners and also for speed endurance or race pace practice amongst middle distance runners. Distances are short (150-600m), run at or just under 1500m pace, with longer recoveries than VO2Max pace.


15min Up&Down: This will often be written at the front of a workout description and it explains the amount of easy jogging to be done either side of the workout in order to warm up and warm down. In this case it is 15 minutes warm up jog before the workout and 15 minutes jogging after

Fartlek: A Swedish word that means “speed play”. These workouts involve several minutes at an increased speed, followed by several minutes of recovery jogging. For example 4×3:30min at speed, 90secs jog recovery. The usual speed we are after for the faster efforts is your lactate threshold pace. However, we rarely recommend that runners do this on a measured course or pay close attention to their GPS watches. Instead this pace should be a perceived effort over undulating terrain in order to build pace-judgement and strength and experience the enjoyment that comes when running at elevated speeds.

Strides or Stride Outs: Designed to develop running form and keep the legs fresh by opening up the stride length and increasing the cadence. These will usually be done towards the end of an easy run with bursts of controlled, fast running of between 10 to 30 seconds long (repeated 2-8 times). Each stride should be followed by at least a minute of light jogging or sometimes walking to recover before doing the next stride. The strides should be run at a controlled fast pace and not be sprinted. Typically aim for between 75-95% of full speed.

LSD (long, social, distance): This run is about completing the time on your legs at your easy pace, but not getting hung up on the exact pace you’re running. Having said that, it is important to be conscious of maintaining good form throughout and to not let the pace slacken towards the end of the run (better to start slow and finish steady than the other way round). When running an LSD on technical trails or over hills do not worry about hitting a certain mileage figure but just run for the same amount of time you would normally run for the prescribed distance.

Tempo Run: A workout usually run at lactate threshold or steady pace for 10-50mins without stopping. Designed to improve endurance and mental application at elevated intensity levels over prolonged periods of time. Will typically be run over flat or undulating measured courses other than on athletics tracks.

Cruise Intervals: Run at or just faster than lactate threshold pace for periods of 8-20 minutes long with a couple of minutes jog between each set (often three sets of 12 minute, for example).

Intervals: Typically run at or near your VO2max pace, these should be run over measured flat courses of distances between 500m to a mile. Recovery jogs are usually quite short.

Repetitions: Faster than intervals but shorter (between 150 and 600m) and with longer recovery. Designed to refine style and efficiency and/or to prepare runners for race distances of 10k and below.


Hills: Easy runs over undulating to mountainous terrain, aiming to maintain the same intensity you would on an easy run (meaning that sometimes you will walk the steep hills).

Hill Strides: Short burst of uphill running on a gentle to moderate slope (10-50secs long). Designed to develop power, strength and improve running technique (with jog recoveries back down, preferably on soft surfaces).

Hill Reps: Longer efforts running uphill at between mile race effort (not pace) and lactate threshold effort (not pace) on a gentle to moderate slope. Run uphill for between 200m and a mile (1600m).


C&C: Means core and conditioning. This is a short workout of 5-20 minutes that will target specific areas of weakness or imbalance in the runner—usually based around the abdominals, lower back, obliques, gluteus, calves, hamstrings, and general stability. This workout will vary from runner to runner but here’s a good starting point: single leg squats, deadlifts, squats, planks, side planks, crunches, lunges, donkey kicks, bridges, isometric calf holds, side leg raises.

Foam Rolling: When you don’t have the time or money for a regular sports massage this is the next best option and we recommend two 10-minute sessions per week. Begin by gently rolling out all the key muscle groups (calves, hamstrings, gluteus, hamstrings, back but only if you are careful). Then go back and target the problem areas (and the muscle groups surrounding those areas) with deeper, more prolonged rolls and holds. Try moving nearby joints (e.g. when rolling quads try flexing and extending the knee) and all rolling your body or limb laterally across the roller (rather than just your roller up and down on your body).

Aqua Jogging: The first port of call for any injured runner. Wear a flotation belt and perform a running motion in the deep end of the pool (you shouldn’t be touching the bottom). Your actual movement forwards in the pool will be very slow, but with the use of intervals and drills you can maintain a very high heart rate and get a great workout that translates well to dry land running.