A lot of new terminology enters your vernacular when you start training for triathlons / marathons. Some are easy to understand, like “speed intervals”. Even if you’ve never trained you can figure out what that means. Then there are others that take some thought or explanation, like “fartlek”. That HAS to be a made up term, but ask a runner with any experience and they know what it means.
From Wikipedia, Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed can be varied whenever the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise.
It can be a mind boggling experience when just starting just talking to the more experienced runners and triathletes when you’re a newbie.
“I’m going to get some brick work in this weekend so I avoid the bonk at mile 6 when I hit the wall.“
“I was having a great ride until the Fred started wheel sucking me and I had to speed up to drop him.”
“I love being in a Peloton (or Tri-Ton) and being able to draft but every once in a while you have to take a pull.”
“The ride was going great until the leader went all aggro on us, so when he got behind me I fired a warning shot, then snotted him when he came along side.”
If you know how to translate all of that, then you are well on your way. If not, you will understand them shortly. In the meantime, here are some alternate ways to say the same things:
“I am going to combine some workouts, perhaps a bike and run on the same day, so that I avoid tiring out and not being able to continue the race.”
“The ride as great until this gentleman dressed in a cycling kit that was color coordinated to match his helmet and bike started riding on my back wheel in order to minimize his effort without telling me or asking me if it was OK, so I increased speed so that he could not keep up.”
“I love riding in a large group of cyclists (or even a large group of cyclists with tri bikes) so that I may use the lack wind resistance created, but every once in a while I must be the one to ride in front and cut the wind.”
“The ride was great until the group leader got overly aggressive, so when he got on my wheel and made me uncomfortable I lifted off the seat and may or may not have relieved myself to back him off. When that didn’t work I let him get along side before deciding to clear my nasal passages.”
By this time I have picked up on the meaning and inference of most terms, but there is one that still perplexes me. I know what an easy swim is, and enjoy them once in awhile, just not worrying about pace or effort and just striking easily through a 45 minute “time in the water” session. I also know what an easy spin is on the bike, getting on the trainer and just moving the legs without regards to “pushing”.
No, those are easy enough to comprehend. The one that gets me is “Easy Run”.
What. The Hell. Is an EASY RUN??
My runs consist of three levels: Hard, Harder, and Impossible.
So an Easy Run to me I guess is a Hard Run?
I will see this on my schedule: Tuesday – Easy Run 45 minutes.
OK. 45 minutes is a 5k and only about 7 minutes slower than my fastest pace ever.
I see it on Daily Mile all the time. These runners logging an Easy Run and their pace is 9:33. Lord.
I know it’s a relative. It’s probably due to my relative newness that there is no real difference between my paces. A 14:00 pace will have the same effects on my body as a 12:00, just takes a little longer. My pace recently has been getting worse, but I think it is due to my back issues. Lately my legs have been very heavy, like I am running with concrete shoes. I think I am pushing hard and then I look at my watch and I am running at a 14:30 pace. Talk about discouraging. It was only a month ago I was in the 11:30 range.
I have decided to try to not worry about pace any more, or at least for awhile. Just get out there, do what I can, stop and stretch out the back when I need to, and just put one foot in front of the other. Pace be damned. Hopefully that will do until my back gets under control.
We can only hope ….