Running terms demystified …
PB? Fartlek. VO2 Max. IT bend/band?
These and many are the terms bandied about when you get to meet a set of long time runners (or long time readers on the subject of running).
Do you get flustered when you hear these terms? Felt that you should have brushed up with Mr. Google before coming in to meet these know all … Don’t worry. Many of them don’t know the full meaning of these terms….. Here is a primer on some of the main terms used in running:
Pace: How fast you’re running, usually expressed in terms of minutes per km. Your running pace at a given effort level will vary greatly from day to day, depending on the weather, your fatigue level, and numerous other factors. Personal Best
Personal Best (PB): Term used to describe a runner’s farthest or fastest time in a race. Also called a Personal Record (PR).
Iliotibial band: A thick, fibrous band that connects your hips and knees. It helps to flex and rotate your hips and stabilize and extend your knees. It can become easily strained, leading to iliotibial band syndrome, if you increase your mileage too quickly. Remember to do your IT band stretch before and after your runs.
Long Steady Distance runs (LSD): Any run that’s longer than a weekly run, which is the foundation of marathon and half-marathon training. These workouts help build endurance and psychological toughness that can help you get through race day.
Build the long run into your routine every other week (weekend mornings are perfect). Make the distance anywhere up to 150 percent of your regular midweek runs, and trot along at your normal training pace. If a 10 km run is de rigeur during the week, for example, then 15 km should be the upper limit of your long run. You have to build km’s gradually and give your body a chance to adjust to the pounding of those extra km’s. As long as you are not picking up your speedwork very suddenly at the same time, you should be able to add 2 – 3 km to your long run every two weeks. This may seem like a painfully slow rate of increase, but it’s a lot less painful than the injury you might otherwise risk. Take it slow, it’s better than being sidelined for several weeks.
As always, keep in mind the oft-repeated 10-percent rule. Your mileage should not increase more than 10 percent from week to week.
Heart rate: How many times your heart beats in a minute. Training by heart rate accounts for many variables that affect how you feel from day to day. This makes it a better way to monitor how hard you’re working than an arbitrary measure such as your pace.
Fartlek: Speed play, or fartlek in Swedish (the concept originated in Sweden), is a speedwork format in which you run faster for however long (or short) you want.
After warming up, run at an easy training pace, throwing in bursts of speed for various distances throughout the run. Vary the speed and times of the speed sections, from as short as 15 seconds to as long as two or three minutes. Between these bursts, allow yourself enough recovery time to match roughly 2/3 of the effort time. The recovery pace, though, should be faster than the recovery jog you might do during intervals on the track; keep it moving at an easy training pace.
It’s a good idea to pick out a landmark — a tree or a fire hydrant or a bend in the path — where a speed section will end before you start picking up the pace. In other words, you have to know how far you are running for each section. Because the idea is to keep up a constant face until you reach that landmark, it is important to pace yourself at the beginning. Don’t tear off so fast that you cannot keep up the pace through the end of each speed section.
A fartlek session can be as easy or as difficult as you wish to make it. Use fartlek for anything from a light recovery run to a grueling workout. As always, however, start out easy. Your first fartlek sessions should contain distances and paces that you feel comfortable with and that you feel you can gradually increase in future sessions. A twenty to thirty-minute fartlek session should be adequate for most runners. There is very little reason for them to go as long as an hour. Take it easy, be patient.
Intervals are all about the Oval track that you see in stadiums….in simple words interval running is doing a particular distance over and over again with a break / recovery between the distances.
Interval sessions are the most formal of speed workouts in that the distances and target paces are precisely fixed before you run. The idea is to run a series of relatively short repetitions over distances from 200m to 1600m, with rest periods of slower running in between. Because of their very nature, intervals involve a shorter period of effort than your usual run of, say, 45 minutes at a steady pace. This allows you to run much faster than you usually do, adapting your body to higher demands and your leg muscles to faster turnover.
Over time, you become more physiologically efficient.
Because of the clearly measured distances, the track is an ideal place to do intervals, but some may find the never-changing scenery to be, well, maybe just a little dull. In that case, you should feel free to do your intervals on the road, using permanent landmarks to measure distance.
The various distances, as you might guess, are each best suited to runners with specific goals. The 200m run (1/2 lap) is best for short-distance training (5K and under) to improve speed. The 400m (one lap) helps improve overall conditioning at slower paces, and at faster paces is good final race preparation. The 800m (two laps) is used to develop speed when training for races 10K and under and to condition form and pace when training for longer races. Finally, the 1600 – 2000m is used most often to train for longer races, from 10K to marathon, to help improve pace judgement and overall conditioning.
Negative splits: Running the second half of a race faster than the first half. This is highly suggested for longer distances above 5 km.
Side stitch: Also called a “side sticker,” this is a sharp pain usually felt just below the rib cage (though sometimes farther up the torso). It’s thought to be caused by a cramp in the diaphragm, gas in the intestines, or food in the stomach. Stitches normally come on during hard workouts or races
Tempo: When runners talk about doing a “tempo run” they usually mean a sustained, faster-than-usual run of 3 to 6 kms at the pace they could sustain for an hour in a race. Tempo runs are said to feel “comfortably hard”—you have to concentrate to keep the effort going, but aren’t running with as much effort as a sprint or 5-K race.
All you have to do is run faster than your usual training pace, somewhere right around your 10K race pace. Unlike most speedwork which consists of relatively short bursts of high effort, tempo runs call for a single sustained effort. The result is that your body learns race economy: running at a fast pace for relatively long periods of time. Tempo runs will give your articles speed a boost, too. By running nearly at race pace, your body becomes accustomed to running close to its upper limit (though not exceeding it). In doing so, you actually increase that upper limit, and you become gradually faster.
After your usual warm-up routine, run at your easy training pace for at least ten minutes. Then pick up the pace. As mentioned above, this speed should be right around your 10K race pace (around 80%-85% of maximum heart rate, if you use an HRM). The time, distance and pace of your tempo run, as with all phases of your running, depends on you and your ability (not to mention your goals). For the distance you choose (5 and 8 km are popular tempo distances), find a pace that is not so fast that you cannot sustain it for the distance, but not so slow that you do not feel challenged toward the end. Tempo runs should be tough, but not impossible. Depending on how you feel on any given day, how much spring is in your legs, and how far you are running, your tempo pace may vary from session to session. That’s fine. The consistency that counts is the pace within each session. Try to keep your speed level for the full length of each tempo run.
Don’t worry too much about figuring out the exact distance of your tempo run. It’s really not terribly important. 5 to 10 km is probably a good range. The one value of knowing how far you are running, though, is that you are able to gauge your improvement over time. Still, this is easily done by doing most of your tempo runs on the same route. You may not know the specific distance, but you can still compare your times for that same fixed route. Usually a tempo run is taken for 20 – 30 mins for beginners.
VO2 max: A measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can consume per minute while exercising. VO2 max is determined by genetics, gender, body composition, age, and training. Runners with a naturally high VO2 max often find it easier to run faster because their hearts can deliver more oxygen to their muscles. There are many ways to boost VO2 max, including speedwork, which forces the heart to pump blood at a higher rate.
Bandit: Someone who is participating in the race unofficially, without having registered or paid for an entry.
Check the full list of terms on popular running websites or google for running terms.