Updated: Oct 22, 2020
We know that coaching jargon can get a bit tricky and different coaches all have a different way of phrasing things. We don't want you to feel overwhelmed when you start using one of our training plans so we made this little cheat sheet for you to help you "crack the code."
If you stumble across a term that's not listed in our glossary, just reach out to us via email and we'll be happy to explain it for you.
Build = Build. This means to build your effort and get faster throughout an interval. For instance, if you are swimming multiple 50's and it says to "Build" them, that means that EACH 50 should start slow and get faster.
CD = Cool Down. This is the last part of your workout. Just like the warm-up this should be nice and easy.
Db = Dumbbell. Those heavy things at the gym you use to make you sore.
Desc = Descend. Similar to "Build" but applying to a group of repetitions. For instance, if you are told to do 4x50 freestyle, then the first 50 should be the slowest and the last one the fastest. It's called "Descend" because the time it takes to complete each repetition is decreasing as you go faster.
FTP = Functional Threshold Power. The intensity zones we prescribe for our cycling workouts are based on a percentage of FTP. You do need a powermeter to measure this. To learn more, go read TrainingPeaks article What is Functional Threshold Power?
HR = Heart Rate. Make sure this is accurately measured. Many watches with a wrist monitor are inaccurate. For best results, use a chest or arm strap.
Kcal = Kilocalories. Technically speaking, what we think of as a "calorie" is actually a kilocalorie. Thus the Kcal abbreviation is actually just a normal calorie. Usually, we use this when recommending the number of calories you need to ingest during training or racing.
Kg = Kilograms. Your body's weight in metric units. Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get your weight in Kg.
LT = Lactate Threshold. Maybe more aptly called "Anaerobic Threshold (AT)." Think of this as your physiological limit for a one-hour effort. One hour all out is one hour all out regardless of how fast you're going. We can race at our lactate threshold for exactly one hour and all other training intensities are as a percentage of this number. This is why we set training zones based on lacate threshold heart rate, power, or pace. Increase your speed at LT and you WILL race faster.
LTHR = Lactate Threshold Heart Rate. Much like FTP, this is your heart rate at your threshold. If you were to race a one-hour running event as hard as you could, this would be your average heart rate for that event. LTHR is a much better indicator of fitness and race potential than Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is.
m = Meters. Note that meters are longer than yards (and thus slower when swimming).
mi = Miles
min = Minutes
MHR = Maximum Heart Rate. You won't see this one much in workout descriptions because it isn't all that useful. This is as high as your heart rate can possibly get. Everyone is different and MHR actually decreases slightly with fitness so it's not really important, just an interesting datapoint.
MS = Main Set. This is the meat of the workout and done after the warm up. It could be intervals, a steady-paced workout, or something else but the main set is what accomplishes the main purpose of the day.
reps = Repetitions. How many of something you are supposed to do.
RI = Rest Interval. This is how long you are supposed to rest in between reps. If the workout says 3x10min w/ 2min RI, that means you go at the prescribed pace for 10 minutes, then you get to rest for 2 minutes and you do it again.
TSS = Training Stress Score. A metric that TrainingPeaks uses to calculate how much "stress" you got from a certain workout. It's a combination of intensity and duration. For more information, read the TrainingPeaks article What is TSS?
sec = Seconds. It's a measurement of time.
WU = Warm Up. This is the first part of your workout and should ALWAYS be a nice and easy pace.
yd(s) = Yards. Note that yards are shorter (and thus faster) than meters when swimming.
x = Number of reps, sets, etc. Many athletes get confused when they see a sequence of numbers such as 4x5min, or 4x200m. The number before the x just tells you how many times you're going to do the prescribed distance or time. So 4x5min reads as- "four by five minutes." This means that you'll go hard (or however hard you're supposed to go) for 5 minutes, and you're going to do that 4 times. Usually, there will be a rest interval (RI) in there telling you how long to rest in between each. Note- it is NOT to be done as a continuous 20min effort. If that were the case the workout would read as- 1x20min.