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Training methodologies made simple

This chart helps runners understand what "easy" and "hard" efforts mean in the context of more data-driven training methodologies

Resting heart rate

From heart rate zones to rate of perceived effort to lactate threshold, runners can easily become overwhelmed with the various terms and training methodologies used to help us run faster. Many coaches stick to a single “language” or style to help their athletes train, but unless you’re spending time learning all the various ways you can measure your output while running, it’s easy to pigeonhole yourself to a single approach.

The following infographic from American running coach Daniel Moore provides a simple illustration of some common running methodologies as they relate to other methods. It’s useful for helping runners understand what the system they’re most familiar with means in the context of other training approaches.

For those new to most of the terms on this chart,  Moore has provided a simple and visually appealing map that correlates easy-to-understand sections such as “common terms” and “time to failure” (simply put, the time you can sustain a given effort, until you can’t) with more data-heavy metrics, such as zones. Professional runners looking for top performance may favour heart-rate-based or lactate threshold training.

This helps runners understand what’s happening in their body when they run at different paces, from both a scientific and feel-based perspective. For example, an “easy” or “recovery” run translates to a one or two on the RPE (rate of perceived effort) scale and falls on the lower end of “Lactate Threshold 1” (also referred to as LT1). Conversely, a true VO2 max effort sees runners pushing at approximately 92 per cent of their maximum heart rate, relies on carbohydrate stores for its primary fuel source and would produce around 15 mmol/L in lactate.

While training by heart rate zones, lactate thresholds, perceived effort or any other data are all useful ways to track and analyze your running over time, runners should remember that not all running needs to be measured. Data junkies will appreciate the visual representation that this chart provides, but there are reasons to occasionally ditch the watch (and other tools) in training and racing–after all, we run for the love of it, and sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to achieve your goals.

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