running training plan

Training Plans Glossary

Our training plans use some terminology that will be unfamiliar to those not used to reading about health and fitness. The downloadable training plans have links back to this page.

Aerobic With air. The aerobic energy system depends on oxygen to work. Running aerobically equates to running in a steady state where the oxygen demands of the body's energy system can be constantly met. Hence, conversation is possible whilst running at this intensity.
Anaerobic Without air. The anaerobic energy system does not rely on oxygen. Energy is derived from chemicals stored in the body. Running anaerobically (or at very high intensity) can only be sustained for short periods because of the limited supply of the required chemicals. To generate more energy, the body then demands oxygen which cannot be supplied at the required rate — try running flat out for 400m and you'll know what that feels like.
Conversational pace This is a fairly comfortable running speed, where the effort is kept to a level that allows you to maintain a controlled conversation.
Cross training As far as running is concerned, cross training is any training activity aside from running; typically cycling, swimming and strength training.
Fartlek Literal translation from Swedish is 'speedplay'. Fartlek is a form of training over various speeds and intensities and is often performed in a very ad-hoc manner; the runner will speed up and slow down as they feel. It helps train the body both aerobically and anaerobically.
Ice bath Many athletes use ice baths after heavy training sessions to aid recovery. The cold water tightens blood vessels squeezing the waste products of exercise from muscles. Fill the bath to cover the legs with cold water (add ice if you like). Ten minutes is enough, a coffee and a good book will help considerably!
Interval training Mixed pace training, where the emphasis is on the recovery period (the interval). The interval will be very specific compared to repetition training where the emphasis is on the effort. An example of an interval session would be: (4 mins at 5k pace, 2 mins at marathon pace) x5
Long run The long run is the longest run of the week. The distance will vary according to your training goals. It is a vital component of endurance training, becoming more important as race distances increase. It is often be over-distance, although not normally for marathon training.
Over distance Over distance is a training run that is longer than your goal race distance. For example, for a 10k race this might be 10 miles. It is unusual to train over distance for the marathon — although some people incorporate such training effectively.
Repetition training Mixed pace training with emphasis on the effort element. The repetition (or rep) is the hard bit, followed by a recovery. Example of repetition session: (400m at 3k pace, with 200m jog recovery) x 10.
Stretch: post-session Stretching performed after running. The purpose is to restore muscles to their resting length. Short duration (10-12 seconds), major muscle groups used in running: hamstrings, quads, calfs, glutes. After running it is important that stretching is gentle and does not add further strain to muscles that have just been working hard. Here's a good stretching guide.
Taper Only during recovery does the body respond to training by rebuilding. Starting a marathon without proper recovery from the necessary hard training would mean running in a depleted condition. The taper (typically 3-weeks) is a period of reduced training that prepares the body for optimum performance.




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