Atlanta Multisports Magazine Issue No 3 - Page 112

Debunking The Speed Workout Jargon

One of the most daunting things in the life of a runner is trying to make sense of a training plan. We've all gone on the interwebs and downloaded that perfect training program that will not only make us reach our running goals but wash and fold our clothes and call mom on Mother's Day. But then you start looking at it and it becomes a jumble of hieroglyphics worthy of an NYU Archeology student. Farlteks, VO2 MAX Threshold, Intervals vs. speed, and Tempo. It's a garble of jargon that doesn't need to be feared but debunked and tamed. Like anything else, once something is tamed, it becomes out pet and we become the Victor! And to be a Victor of your Speed Workout Lexicon is to become a Faster, Stronger and more Conditioned Runner. And that ain't half bad.When I was in Run Coach College, the one word that made no sense for me was Fartlek. Even Wikipedia makes Fartlek sound like Chinese for Run Torture. All jokes aside, because there are a multitude of them even I won't engage in, a Fartlek can be broken down into

this: an unstructured mixture of speed and easy running. If that still sounds pretty obtuse, think of it this way: on an easy run you see a lamp post and run as fast as you can from that lamp post to another then slow it back down to your easy jog Do this several times during your run and you've Fartlek-ed it out. Now, that wasn't too bad was it? VO2MAX Threshold. It's not ultimate gel hold for the newest avant garde hair styles. Its the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. Ok, this one is pretty easy in layman terms: run as fast and hard as you can for as long as you can, pick your lung up off the track and stuff it back down. And that is your top potential ... or your VO2MAX.Interval vs. Speed Workout. Ok, I may have made this one up, but I think it's kind of important to look at what I like to call the differences between interval and speed workouts. Intervals, which the lovely Fartlek is a type, is mixing "hard effort, specific distances" with active, easy jog recovery. Speed, for me, is more of an all out assault for said specific distance with full recovery -- stopping to fully recover or however you can recover from 45 seconds to a minute. Each one has their own merit and I like to mix the two up, sometimes even in the same workout, but they have different effects on the body.

Tempo. Any High School Band member should remember that Tempo is the speed of music. It's the same for running. The middle tempo section of your run will be done faster than your easy warm up pace and should include a cool down back at your easy effort. Tempo pace can be anything from half marathon, 10K or 5K pace depending on your training plan.Hopefully this will give you the tools to take that speed work out you've been dreading and make it your ... well, make it fun!