Running Terminology

If you are new to the sport of running you may have heard your friends talking in a different language. You may have wondered about what they were talking about. To help clear some things up, here are some words that will help you with the running terminology.


Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.”  It’s a word used for a training method whereby a runner will run hard for a certain distance or time and then run slow for a certain distance or time.  This is repeated bringing the heart rate up high during the “fast” attempt and then bringing it down again during the “slow” recovery portion.  The repeating affect allows the heart to get stronger and more efficient in pumping blood through the body while also providing an opportunity for recovery.  Over time a runner may be able to increase the number of repetitions of high / low speeds as they get stronger.


No your friends are not discussing drugs but rather LSD refers to “Long Slow Distance.” Usually used with marathon runners when talking about running a long distance that is usually done slower than their regular running pace.  The slower speed allows the runner to get more miles in as they will not tire quickly.  This type of training is done during the build up phase of marathon training


This is a workout which is done at a certain speed to develop aerobic capacity.  Intervals can be of any distance and speed and is based on the runners’ event.  For instance, a high school 800m runner may run intervals of 400m with 2 minutes rest, whereas an elite 5,000m runner may run intervals of 1,000 meters with 1 minute rest.


Tempo is a type of workout where the runner maintains a speed at a comfortable pace. The pace is somewhat challenging allowing the runners body to learn to adapt to a certain speed.  It is usually run at a maximum of 80-85% heart rate.

Aerobic Training

Aerobic training is sometimes referred to as a cardio workout. In this workout the runner builds capacity for the lungs to take in more oxygen.  As this capacity increases the ability to process oxygen more efficiently will result in the runner not tiring out.

Anaerobic Training

Anaerobic Training is a workout designed to increase total speed in a runner.  Workouts that are short in duration with longer recovery tend to build pure speed in a runner.

V02 Max

VO2 Max is also known as maximal oxygen uptake is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. It is a common measurement used to establish the aerobic endurance of an athlete prior to or during the course of training.  The higher the VO2 Max means the runner can process more oxygen through the lungs and into the body, allowing the athlete to run longer without getting tired.


Personal record or personal best


When a runner enters the taper stage of their training, they begin decreasing mileage and intensity. This will usually occur a few days to a couple of weeks before a race to ensure peak performance

Brick Workout

Brick workoutrefers to the stacking of two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no rest in between.  Typically done by triathletes, who may go for a bike ride, followed immediately up by a run.  The workout trains the athlete’s body to adjust to the differing event discipline.  Since cycling and running use different muscle sets, the change up trains the body to make those adaptions.

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