Ever wondered what the various terms used in describing training sessions mean? Here’s a quick guide.
5k (10k, etc.) pace
The pace at which the athlete could run a 5k (10k, etc.) race at that particular time (taking account of fitness, conditions, previous races, etc.); not the PB they ran over that distance a year ago! For most athletes, 10k pace will be slightly quicker than threshold pace, while half marathon pace will be slightly slower.
Essentially, a relay for two athletes; one runs, then hands over to the other and recovers while the other runs, and so on.
A period to gradually return the body systems to normal after the training session. It will generally consist of a jog followed by stretches.
A popular test for estimating VO2max; it consists of running as far as possible in 12 minutes. The coach will call out the time left after every lap. (Other similar tests are also used.)
A session where the group runs in single file, with the back runner sprinting to the front, then signalling to the new back runner to do likewise.
Exercises designed to improve running style and/or dynamically stretch the muscles to be used.
From the Swedish: “speed play”. It consists of alternating periods of fast and slow running – not sprinting and jogging.
Like a crocodile, except that after running to the front, the runner chooses who should go to the front next by calling out a number.
A training session in which the reps vary in distance (or duration) – either increasing then decreasing again, or vice versa, or maybe just increasing or just decreasing.
A period to recover from the previous rep; often this will involve jogging slowly for a given distance or time.
Short for “repetition”. A single training element that is to be performed with a reasonable amount of effort (which should be specified), defined by time or distance: for example, 400m at 10k pace, or 1 minute at 5k pace. Reps may sometimes be referred to as “efforts”. It will invariably be followed by recovery.
A rep in which the last part (often 100m) is to be run faster than the rest – in other words, it has a sting in the tail.
A group of reps and recoveries, for example 4 x 400m at 10k pace, 1 minute recovery. There will be a longer recovery between sets than between individual reps.
Target 5k (10k, etc.) pace
The pace at which the athlete is working towards running a 5k (10k, etc.) race. Be realistic and discuss with your coach!
The maximum pace at which the amount of oxygen used in exercise per second is equal to the amount of oxygen taken in in the same time; the maximum pace at which the athlete can maintain a steady breathing rhythm. An athlete will be able to maintain this pace for about an hour.
The maximum rate that the athlete can take in oxygen from the air and transport it to their muscles, usually specified per kg of body weight. It is a measure of cardiovascular fitness and endurance capacity. Often estimated by the Cooper test.
A group of exercises to prepare the runner physically and mentally for the training to follow. As well as jogging, it will often include drills.