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Training Terms

Accelerations
Increase speed continuously for the time interval indicated. Same meaning as Build. “Build” is usually used for swimming, “Acceleration” for bike and run.
Aerobic
"With Oxygen" - training which burns both fat and carbohydrates (glycogen) as fuel. Where to train for endurance. This also burns the most fat as percentage of fuel.
Aerobic Capacity
See VO2 Max
Anaerobic
"Without Oxygen" - training which burns glycogen as fuel. The body demands more oxygen than the lungs can provide, so fat burning shuts down. Where most speed training occurs.
Brick
(Bike & Run) - A bike ride followed immediately (within 5 minutes) by a run.
Build
Get faster within the specific distance or time. In swimming, 100 Build means you swim 100 yards, getting faster all the time, until you are at the fastest in the last 25 yards or so. In running, Build 3 minutes to Zone 5 would mean over three minutes, increase your speed to that the last 30 seconds or so you were in Zone 3.
Build vs. Descending
Build is like an incline - to continuously get faster over the distance/time. Descending is like stairs - you swim each part of the set at the same speed, but that part is faster than the part before.
C/D
Cool down - at the end of the workout, lower the intensity for 5-10 minutes. You heart rate should drop into at least Zone 2 during the cool-down.
Cadence
(Bike) - Revolutions per minute (RPM) of the pedals. Most recreational athletes should try for a cadence of 85-90 rpm. Sometimes used in running to refer to rate of leg turnover.
Cross Training
Training for more than one sport during the same time period. Triathlons are naturally cross-training.
Descending or DESC
(Swimming) - Swim segments gets progressively faster during the distance specified so you are at max at the end of it. 3 x 50 DESC means that you swim the second 50 yards/meters faster than the first, and the third 50 fastest of all.
Drafting
Swimming, biking, or running behind another athlete to reduce effort. Bike drafting is not allowed in most triathlons.
Drill
(Swimming) - Swim drills, e.g., thumb scrape, catch-up, finger drag, typically done during warm-up.
Drops
(Bike) - on drop handlebars, the covers of the brake handles.
Fartlek
Speed “play” - go fast for a short distance at irregular intervals, as the spirit moves you. For example, run fast to the next telephone pole, or bike as fast as you can to the stop sign.
Free
(Swimming) - Freestyle swimming, a.k.a. Front Crawl.
Interval Training
Short and regularly repeated periods of high intensity exercise interspersed with periods of recovery.
Isolated Leg Training
On the bike (typically a bike trainer or spin bike, pedaling with only one leg. The other leg is off the pedal - you can set two chairs by the bike, and use them to rest the unused foot. Otherwise you can rest the non-work leg on the frame of the bike or just let it dangle. For novices, keep the non-work on the pedal but just as dead-weight. Don't activate the muscles on that leg.
Kick
(Swimming) - Swim with a kickboard; swim just with your legs, no arms. You can also swim on your back without a kickboard.
Lactate Threshold
The point at which blood lactate levels accumulate in the body.
Lactic Acid
The substance produced within a cell from anaerobic metabolic activity; the accumulation of lactic acid in the body is thought to produce the burning sensation in working muscles.
Macronutrient
The large category of food, which can be broken down into carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Main or MS
(Swimming) - Main Set of the workout (between the warm-up and cool-down.
Negative Split or N/S
Make the second half of the workout distance faster than the first half. Especially goof for an out-and-back bike or run course; come back faster than you went out.
On X (seconds) (also called Send-off)
(Swimming) - Each rep begins on that time mark; the time between the end of your last rep and the time mark is your rest interval. For example, “6 x 50 on 90 seconds” means that you swim 6 laps (50 yd/m), each starting at 90 seconds from the start of the previous one (at 0, 90 sec, 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:50). If you swim the first lap in 65 seconds, then you have a 25 second rest interval. So the slower you swim, the less rest interval you get.
Overtraining
Mental and physical fatigue caused by excessive training without sufficient rest time for the body to recover. Performance decreases as overtraining increases.
Pull
(Swimming) - Swim with a pull buoy and use only arms, no kicking. Pull buoys give buoyancy to your legs so you can concentrate on the arms; hold the pull buoy between your thighs or knees. If you are still inclined to kick, cross your ankles.
R/L Arm Only
(Swimming) - Swim only with the designated arm. The other arm should stay at your side. Focus on good arm form and the pull.
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
A subjective assessment of how hard you are working.
Repetitions (Reps)
The number of times a certain movement/interval is repeated.
Rest Interval (RI)
Used most often in swim workouts, but also applies to bike and run intervals. Rest for this period of time before starting next interval. For example, “6 x 50, RI:10” means you will swim 50 yards/meters six times, resting 10 seconds between each. Important: the speed of the exercise does not determine the rest interval; always take the full rest interval regardless of how fast the swim/bike/run might have been.
Set
A group of repetitions.
T1 pace or T pace
(Swimming) - This is the fastest pace you can maintain over three sets of 100 or 300 yards/meters, and represents Lactate Threshold level. It is used primarily in Speed workouts.
Tapering
A reduction in training prior to a major race. Typically you shorten the duration of exercise but may increase the intensity.
VO2 Max
The capacity for the body to use oxygen during maximum exertion. Also known as Aerobic Capacity.
W/U
Warm up - begin your workout with 5-10 minutes of the activity at Zone 1 & 2.
Workload
The combination of frequency, intensity, and duration.