Running Basics: Running Terminology

Have you ever wondered what runners mean when they say, “I just did a tempo run” or “I’m really looking forward to my next fartlek run”? Running lingo can seem a little foreign if you are a beginning runner; however, learning the language is key to improving your run workouts and can help you enjoy the variety of workouts available.

Circuit Training: a medium intensity strength training exercise program where the participant moves quickly through a series of 8-10 exercises and performs either 10-25 repetitions or performs and exercise for 30 seconds-3 minutes

Easy Run: the “other day of running” or the day of running where the participant is building baseline mileage or running at a pace to recover from a more difficult work-out

Fartlek Workout: “speed-play” run where the participant runs quickly for a short period of time and then runs more slowly to recover; this is a less structured type of run to increase speed; an example is to run quickly from mailbox on a country road to the next then run slow for the next 2 mailboxes and then increase speed for the next 3 mailboxes, etc.

Form Drills: specific drills to enhance running technique, improve speed, and reduce injury

Interval Workout: running where the participant has brief intense periods of running followed by disciplined recovery periods

Long Run: the longest run of the week in a training program; designed to increase endurance; total mileage per week should not exceed a 10% increase per week in order to reduce the risk of injury

Plyometrics: jumping exercises to build overall strength and condition the core muscles

Speed Workout: running at a faster pace in practice to increase speed during a race

Strength Training: resistance training with body weight, dumbbells, weight machines, resistance bands, or fitness balls

Tempo Run: structured running where the participant warms-up then runs at a “level just outside your comfort zone” and finishes with a cool-down

If you are interested in learning more about how to begin a running program or how to improve upon your current running program, we can help. Physical therapists are musculoskeletal specialists or movement experts. At De Witt Physical Therapy & Wellness, we specialize in evaluating and treating you based on your needs. We will design a running program precisely for you. Call 262-358-6730 now or visit to schedule.


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