Purple Patch Glossary December 23, 2021 12:39 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Introduction Welcome to the Purple Patch Workout Glossary. This document is extremely important for you as it will be your guide if you are ever unsure about the intention of a prescribed session. Your Purple Patch workouts are broken down into categories to help you gain quick insight into the theme and intent of an individual session. For each discipline (swim-bike-run), we break down the workouts into four families of workouts. The intent is to have descriptive categories that highlight the nuance within the actual workout. This table below shows you the main family of workouts for each discipline: Swim Bike Run Technical Technical Technical Endurance Endurance Endurance Interval End of Range Interval Event Specific Event Specific Event Specific We encourage you to become VERY familiar with the workouts themes and focus so that when you scan a week of training you can understand the big picture of all your sessions. Table of Contents (Click The Blue Text To Jump To A Section) Understanding The Workout Structure Defining Purple Patch Training Zones Purple Patch Swim Glossary Technical Endurance Interval Event Specific Purple Patch Bike Glossary Technical Endurance End of Range Event Specific Purple Patch Run Glossary Technical Endurance Interval Event Specific Understanding the Workout Structure All workouts are structured using the following logic: [Type of Workout: Workout Family - Role of Workout] KEY BIKE: End of Range - Strength Endurance With this title, you can break down the importance, focus, and details that will reveal themselves as you dive into the description of the session. From this title you can see: It is important. It is labeled a KEY session, so a focus session of the week of training. End of Range. This style of riding workout is going to focus on the main intervals being at very low or very high cadence (RPM) and will require moderately strong to a very strong effort. Strength-Endurance. The strength-endurance label, or SE as we call it, suggests that the main intervals of this sessions are designed to develop muscular strength and resilience, so you can expect lower cadence (RPM) work as the main focus. For comparison, if you see a bike workout written as: Supporting BIKE: Technical - Recovery The picture here tells a very different story. From this title you can see: It is a supporting workout. It has a supporting role, is nice to get in, but a candidate for scaling or removing if life or fatigue really creeps in. It is in the technical family. This means that physical stress is going to be lower, but the door is open to work on form and skills. Recovery. The main role of the ride is to facilitate recuperation from a previously challenging session. You can see how the title and common language really helps guide you to understanding the intent and theme of any session, so get studying below. Defining Purple Patch Training Zones Z1: EASY. Blood is moving, without big effort. This effort is utilized in warm up and recuperation sessions and is below an effort you would typically deploy in racing. Z2: SMOOTH. Endurance. A conversational effort in which you can sustain your effort for extended periods without accumulation of fatigue or that leaves a residual effect the day following (such as soreness). Any global muscular and overall fatigue will be manageable from long periods at this effort. Many athletes maintain an IRONMAN ride at the very upper range of this effort. Z3: STRONG This effort is sustainable for extended periods, but requires real focus to maintain. You would not want to lead a conversation at this effort but are not breathless. Z4: VERY STRONG. This is an effort that allows the maximum amount of work you can sustain, over a set duration, combining your current fitness and good form, but without force. The result is an uncomfortable effort that requires all of your dedicated focus to maintain. Z5: HARD. This effort is one in which high force is added to form and fitness to achieve a very high effort. This effort is not sustainable, will put you into duress, and will result in residual effects from accumulating much time in this area. Purple Patch Swim Glossary Technical: This family of swims is focused around recuperation and recovery, technique and form development, or preparation for an upcoming session or race. Recovery = The purpose of this session is to facilitate rejuvenation and recovery. The lower physical stress provides a great opportunity for you to focus on technique and form. Form-Focus = A lower stress session that allows you to focus on body position, pulling form, and synchronization during these sessions. It will be typical to add some swimming tools, or toys, into these sessions to help with form. Speed + Power = The best word to describe this is over-recruitment. Even during technical swimming, we like to inject some fast swimming to ensure the body is working to its full potential. Prep = This workout is designed to prepare yourself for a coming workout or race, with a little activation and building work, without causing fatigue Endurance: Triathlon open water races require high levels of cardiovascular and muscular endurance. These sessions are designed to develop and extend your ability to maintain efforts in open water. Short Interval = A key performance criteria in racing is to maintain form under fatigue. These sessions are a great way to build endurance while retaining great form. You have the chance to hit each interval with good form and maintain it through the session. Over-Distance = As will most endurance sports, we do need to condition the mind and the body to handle the challenge of race distance, and even beyond. These sessions allow you to convert the endurance of short interval sessions into extended swimming Building = A good time for pacing and self-management, these sessions are for you to learn how to build your effort across a series of intervals, with the goal being to increase effort and speed as the session progresses. This is an art and teaches efficiency and speed change. Interval: The focus of these sessions is raising the sustainable ceiling of your performance, while also developing your resilience to be able to hold the best pace under fatigue. You are often asked to retain a maximally sustained pace in these intervals, but always with a focus on rhythm, supple tempo, and good form. We never fight the water, even in these interval based workouts. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training session) = These are used to drive adaptation of synchronization, power, and capacity around your swim stroke and your ability to produce force under the water. We often utilize swim toys here to improve speed or force over-recruitment. Building = You will notice that I like athletes to be set up for success, so many stronger intervals as progressive intensity. Different from the building sets of an endurance focus, these tend to be comprised of shorter intervals that progress toward maximal effort, hence creating a great delta of both effort and speed through the main set. Event Specific: You are not a pool swimmer, but a triathlete who races open water. With this in mind, many of the key sessions designed to prepare you for your events and more specifically for the fluctuation and demands of open water swim racing. The sessions under this banner should translate both physically and mentally into your race execution and performance. Pyramid = In this session we increase the distance throughout a workout. The idea is that you start out with great form, and you hold on to that form as the distance and sets get larger and more challenging. This can mimic the feeling of fatigue and difficulty to maintain form in a race. Threshold = These are notoriously some of the tougher and more challenging sessions, yet if done properly can be one of the biggest keys towards making you feel comfortable at a very strong effort. We will often integrate open water skills, such as sighting, but the underlying mission is to retain form under fatigue. Race Simulation = Programmed variability that will inevitably happen on a race course. Race starts, swimming in a group, buoy turns, establishing a rhythm, spiking surges of speed, and finishing a swim with form are all pieces of a puzzle that we try to simulate in the pool. Open Water = Self-explanatory. In the book, open water sessions are minimal as so many have very limited access to regular open water. The Purple Patch website has a series of wonderful open water swim options for your review. Purple Patch Bike Glossary Technical: This family of workout focuses less on physical strain, or load, and more on technique, skills, preparation or recovery. The underlying theme of this family is 'feeling good', so enjoy these important but lower stress sessions. Many simply turn off the mind in these sessions, but that is a mistake. Your best performance will always involve improvement in cycling skills, terrain management, and course execution. Prep Ride = This is a ride can be rejuvenating and also your chance to physically and mentally get ready for the work that is to come. Following this ride may be a race or a key session. It is worth remembering and learning what makes you feel good, and what you enjoy. It is all about making you feel better the next day. Recovery = Pure recovery with minimal, if any, efforts. We like to move some blood to help any soreness or fatigue while simply getting comfortable on your bike. The intent is low stress, but you still have a chance to ride well, with great form. Activation = An easier session that includes some short, intense efforts that will switch on the muscles and movement patterns to help you in future sessions. This should not be a session that creates deep fatigue, despite the ask of higher intensity. Endurance: Your fitness and endurance on the bike are obviously an underpinning to your performance both on the bike and the run that follows. Much of the riding you do must be smooth, or endurance focused - the bedrock of your racing preparation. Over-Distance = While I don't ask for too much huge over-distance work, the infrequent sessions prescribed will elevate cardiovascular and muscular fitness, improve postural fitness, develop mental focus and resilience, and allow a platform to work on proper fueling and hydration strategies. General = The baseline development of fitness, form and good habits. Resilience is a golden term here, and consistently properly executed endurance sessions will provide the backbone of race readiness. End of Range: This has become known as the special sauce of Purple Patch training. In your race, you will likely spend a high percentage of your time in a narrow range of output and cycling cadence (RPM), but there is high value in developing the tools and training at a very wide range of intensity and cadence. Consistency in these sessions establishes an awareness of your natural strengths, tools to manage various terrain and conditions, and the chance to vary loads to help consistent output and speed. Expect plenty of very low cadence and very high cadence in these varying and challenging sessions. Strength-Endurance = So much of successful triathlon riding is about the development of resilience, and the focus on low RPM at moderate to very low load is a great tool for development of resilience, great for pedal stroke and a tool to bring cardiovascular stress down when needed. Building = I often place these intervals in when unsure how you may feel, relative to previous work, but also when I aim to develop a sense of pacing and progressive effort. These intervals are often low RPM but progress from smooth to the maximal effort over intervals or within each interval. High RPM = In addition to the strength and low RPM work, you will see the other end of the range by pedaling very fast, all the while keeping tension on the chain. Cardiovascular and neurological stress is high here, but it is an important tool to develop. In the real world of cycling, it is relevant to maintaining power and speed while coming downhill or in a tailwind. Event Specific: Similar to the swim specific work, we must focus on specificity towards the event we are preparing for. The goal is to find your pace, effort, and power that is appropriate for your race goals and simulate (train) for the experience and pacing of it. It is also a great time to blend your natural strengths, terrain management, and hydration and fueling strategies. Building = All of these sessions are executed with good posture, position, and pedaling. Then, as you would do in racing, we gradually progress effort through a ride, with the focus being on delivering your best effort and form in the final third of the series of intervals or ride as a whole. We must ingrain great riding in the final third of every ride. Interval = All intervals are based around just under, at, or perhaps just above your goal race effort. Consistency and smart management of these sessions will help you develop inner self-management and internal pacing. Race Simulation = The simulation is designed to test out your efforts and fueling strategies for race day. These can be challenging sessions, but with the correct lens, they are some of the most important ways for you to test and track your progress along your journey. Purple Patch Run Glossary Technical: We aim to remove physical stress and allow a focus on run form, technique or lower stress running for resilience or recovery. Some of these sessions may including focused walking, hops, bounds or very easy running. For more advanced runners, elements of good running form may need to be removed, with intent, to allow easy enough running. This may include leg propulsion and foot speed, but never posture or proper arm carriage. Recovery = True recovery in the run means really keeping a lid on intensity and pace. Make sure these easy runs are truly easy in nature, even if you remove aspects such as high leg turnover or leg propulsion. You may need to integrate plenty of walking in this session to retain the low-stress goal, which can still be valuable globally. Overall stress should be very low here. Prep = These runs are typically short and designed to retain the neurological, or feeling, side of the run. These runs are placed to help you feel good in the days following, and often precede key run training or races. It is important to develop a sense of what works for you here, and there will always be options on how to truly approach these runs. Activation = As with our other disciplines, this is a great chance to do some strides, over-recruitment running, and efforts that will not leave you tired or sore, but will simply improve the dialog between brain and muscles, hence readiness for upcoming key work or racing. Endurance: Remembering that the run is the last piece of the triathlon race, you must retain great cardiovascular and muscular conditioning. The backbone of your successful run training is a development of these qualities (hence a large amount of your running is about successfully developing consistency). This will create the platform of resilience needed to be successful. Over-Distance = Realize that over-distance in our run training is built around extended duration of time, not necessarily running longer than the distance of your race. The key here is form, self-management, and form under fatigue. General = The goal in these sessions is to develop resilience while maintaining good form.. We will reference a lot of Minimal Form Pace (MFP) running, or as much time of the session as possible while retaining as many of the elements of good form as possible. Interval: This could be called variance, as this family is all about varying speed and effort in a wide range of intensities depending on the goal of the session. Realize that it isn't just about effort, but it is interval based training while retaining awareness and form. Strength = Generally executed on hills or a loop that you can repeat, the intent is not necessarily just about becoming a powerful hill runner, instead, it is a great way to develop the strength and form in the legs that will translate to how you run on the flats and varying terrain. Tempo = A central tool to pace and overall development is sustained efforts at an uncomfortable but sustainable pace/effort. Challenging, but sustained. Speed = While I prescribe in small doses, you can expect some sustained higher than race effort running, which as a stand-alone workout we would label as a speed session. Event Specific: We spend time to practice the style and personality of running that we will apply specifically in the race you are training for. This training is fundamental to race execution, as we aim to develop the experience of what you will race on the race day itself. Building = You will begIn these runs smoothly, progressing the effort and tempo all the way through the main workout. In other sessions, we aim to develop ramping to race pace quickly, but in these sessions, the goal is to train you to have your best running occur in the last third of the run, in terms of both form and pace. Interval = Different from the interval workouts themselves, event-specific intervals would have a personality always focused around race effort/pace. Expect to see some longer intervals that are focused around race effort. Brick Run = In their nature, all bricks are specific due to the nature of the sport itself. I don't believe in simply adding a run onto the bike, but utilize these sessions to add resilience, sneak running frequency and duration in a block, but also train you to simulate ramping to pace quickly off the bike. Don't forget to work on the transition piece also, which can be a great place to save time on race day. Race Simulation = Quite simply, these sessions are designed to prepare you for the experience of race day and should be treated as mini-races. A time to practice race day breakfast, fueling, equipment choice and race-specific terrain when possible. Tune into the feeling side, and self-management, for your best route to success.