Thursday, July 6, 2017

How Can Runners Use the Talk Test?

Ventilatory Threshold - My Favorite Tip for Using the Talk Test During Endurance Building Runs

You've heard that a solid method for measuring your aerobic intensity is something called the 'talk test' - the idea that if you can say a sentence comfortably while running, you are exercising aerobically just below your ventilatory threshold. This is a great trick for runners who tend to run too fast during their endurance building workouts. The traditional advice is to recite the Pledge of Allegience aloud every few miles to make sure you aren't running too fast. Going above the ventilatory threshold means your body will start feeling fatigue and you could end up cutting your long runs short because of exhaustion. 

Reality check: I can run for a while at the ventilatory threhold before catching myself. I need more reminders. I started to use the trick more often and found that it feels sort of silly to keep on reciting a sentence or two every few minutes to check myself during a run. 

Then I booked a trip to Germany. In preparation for my trip, I started learning German and used my runs to practice. Wow! I discovered a great replacement for the traditional talk test! 

My top tip for making sure I'm exercising aerobically is to spend $20 on the Pimsleur website ( and buy some foreign language lessons in MP3 format. The foreign language lessons prompt me to say a sentence at least every minute, so I ensure that I am exercising aerobically and I also learn a new language!

More about the Talk Test and the research behind the practice from ACE Fitness:

A great article on the Talk Test from IDEA:

Learn more from Aerobic and Anaerobic Thresholds and the role of the Talk Test here: 

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