Let’s define some of the lingo that is used in training plans so that you can better understand the training principle and exactly what you are getting yourself into.
- Often in marathon or distance running training you will see tempo runs included in your training plan. Tempo is how quickly (or the speed) you are running. The objective of a tempo run is to help you hold a faster pace for a longer amount of time such as you would in a 10k or half marathon race. In a prescribed tempo run, the pace at which you should run will be listed. It is vital to run at the prescribed tempo. Otherwise, it is not a tempo run.
- A training concept that includes an "interval" or period of work/running followed by another period at a different pace or distance. For instance, some training plans apply short intervals of high intensity work followed by a short interval of rest or running at a slower pace. So your training could look like this: 2 x 10 minutes at a moderately hard effort with 3 minutes easy running in between. That being said, you have one interval of a moderate effort run for 10 minutes followed by 3 minutes of an easy run, two times.
- The Fartlek training principle was first developed in 1937 by Gosta Holmer, a Swedish running coach. Fartlek means "speed play" when translated to English and is simply a period of fast running immediately followed by a period of slow running. Your workout could look something like this: run 6 repeats of: 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes easy. What separates a Fartlek type workout from a traditional interval based workout like the previously mentioned is that for a Fartlek type workout, you focus is on speed rather than maintaining a constant pace. Therefore, your pace and speed can fluctuate throughout the fast pace intervals of a Fartlek workout. These type of workouts are great for allowing the runner to experiment with their speed.
- A time trial is simply how fast you can run the prescribed distance. For a time trial, it should be an all out, 100 percent effort by the runner. For example, a 1-mile time trial is how quickly you can run a mile. Some training plans will even have repeatability tests along with the time trial. A repeatability test is how many times you can replicate the same time for a prescribed distance. One workout could be a 1-mile time trial with a repeatability test. On the front end of things, it is a time trial but after completing the first mile, you will have a prescribed amount of rest that will be followed with another 1-mile time trial with the athlete attempting to replicate the same time.
- a progression run is much like it sounds. As you progress through the run, you want to increase your speed. For example, a lot of runners will have a session that will include an out and back progression run. With this type of progression run, you will run for a certain amount of time out (let's say 15 minutes out) at a slow and steady pace. You will then turn around and run back to where you started at a faster pace that you can hold for the duration for the run. Being that you are running faster, you should return to your starting point in less time than your run "out".
Make sure to become familiar with these concepts and principles, you will see them in the 5k training plan.