Can you please provide more explanation on the training terminology?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Susie Langley 1 year, 9 months ago.

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    Susie Langley

    On the plans you’ll notice we refer to the following training terminology:


    These are referred to in both the running and cycling.

    Comfortable, conversational pace. In the swim relaxed strokes. On the bike, easy relaxed cadence. On the run, easy jog with a nice rhythm. In general, a sustainable, “all day” pace. Used for warm up and some cool down of most workouts.

    A moderate effort means that you need to start pushing a bit. This is a pace that starts to harness some strength in your swim stroke, your pedal stroke or your stride, but it doesn’t feel hard.
    The effort / pace is sustainable for long efforts. In the swim, you swim without pushing your aerobic system to strain. Breathing should be light enough that you recover for another effort within 10 seconds. On the bike, a pace you can sustain for many hours. On the run, you are “feeling your oats” and stepping out of warm-up pace. You could comfortably run this for several hours.

    The effort does not feel like something you could sustain for very long, and yet training “in the here and now” you can hold this without seeing the end of the effort. This feels like the effort you would race your long race when fit. At the same time, it’s not exactly pain free. You can sustain this pace for the foreseeable time, but your breathing is somewhat labored and conversation is definitely curtailed. You need to focus on the effort but are not pushing a pace where you need to back off – nor do you feel like you would want to push it much faster, either.
    It doesn’t quite hurt, but you can handle it because it’s going to end.

    This is definitely uncomfortable! You only push this hard for either short efforts (e.g. sprints in the pool, and strength intervals on the bike), or sustained efforts late in a workout when you are already fatigued. In the swim, this might mean very short, fast efforts with lots of rest. On the bike, giving it what you gave at the moment, for example “MAD” at the end a ride, or in a workout where the effort builds from MODERATE, to MEDIUM, and finishing with MAD. In the run, the pace really hurts but it is not all out. It feels similar to the pain of race pace in shorter triathlon races. You will be breathing hard, but there is a little left in the tank so it’s not all out. As with the bike we use this with workouts that build from MODERATE, to MEDIUM, finishing with MAD.

    When running we never run intervals faster than 95% effort. The benefit is limited and the risk of injury is high.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Susie Langley.


    Hi Susie,

    I read the term “feeling your oats” in the iron distance plan I am using, and you use it here.
    What does that term mean – I’ve never heard it before?
    Can you give a different description for how fast am I supposed to be running/biking/swimming?



    Susie Langley

    he he , it’s a horse term 😉 (google it!)

    You could also thinkof it as
    Mod = Cruising
    Med = fast and hurting
    Mad = all out pure pain

    If you go to the Brett’s Facebook page ( there is a good video from 27th Apr where Brett explains Mod/Med/Mad also.

    Hope that helps 🙂

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