Post contributed by Karleen Scase

Having a clear understanding of a workout a coach has provided is important to get the most out of each workout. To execute properly we need to understand “coach speak”.

Intensity Levels

There are six intensity levels that apply to all disciplines of triathlon; Recovery, Moderate, Aerobic, Threshold, V02 max and Speed. The easiest way to assess intensity is by feel and thinking about rate of perceived exertion (RPE).

  • Recovery: RPE 4-5. Very easy 
  • Moderate: RPE 6-7. Comfortable
  • Aerobic: 7-8 Comfortably hard
  • Threshold: 8-8.5. Fast pace you can hold for 1 hr (reduced for beginners)
  • V02 Max: 9. Very hard
  • Speed: 10. Fastest pace you can hold for 1min.

We all have watches and many have V02 max assessments however it is important to self assess. Being able to read our inner feedback because you never know when a watch decides not to cooperate. 


Other terms we can come across in our workouts.

  • Intervals: segments of hard work separated by recovery periods
  • Rest: Rest is rest and this serves a purpose in workouts. 
  • Active Recovery: Moving in the specified discipline in recovery mode.
  • Fartlek: Continuous training with periods of fast training in between.
  • Tempo: Longer training just below anaerobic levels. 
  • Brick workouts: A bike ride followed immediately by a run.
  • Aerobic: Light activity the you can sustain over longer periods of time as there is sufficient oxygen to sustain this.
  • Anaerobic: Activity bursts that can only be sustained for short periods of time. Oxygen Supply cannot meet the muscles needs and results in lactic acid buildup. 

Remember it is important that workouts are executed as given as they are used to build you appropriately and safely to the level you are looking to achieve. 

If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?  ~Joe Namath~

Happy Training!