Monisha's Minute: IDK what XT means…

For those who do not understand text language IDK means “I don’t know.”

Every sport has its own special jargon and acronyms. Understanding them can be a little frustrating when you’re first getting into a particular sport. I remember the first marathon training schedule I read. I had no idea what the different acronyms meant so I skipped those days or just ran.  It may not have been the wisest thing to do but I did it until I came across a running schedule that spelled the words out.

Back in November, a group of my friends from undergrad thought it would be a great idea to run in the Rock N Roll New Orleans Half together. Since then we have checked in and encouraged each other via phone calls, texts and social media. Early on, I posted a half marathon training schedule in our Facebook group. Last week I was running with a friend and she said, I read the running schedule you posted but I didn’t understand what the different symbols meant, so I made up my own schedule.  Her response brought back to memory what I did when I saw my first running schedule. I then began to wonder how many novice runners have probably done the same thing?

Confused? I know I was when I came across a document like this a couple of years ago. Therefore, I decided to post a blog article on the different acronyms you may see on a running schedule.

EZ– Easy; As in easy pace; equivalent to jogging

XT or CT– Cross train; such as swim, bicycle, stationary bike, etc.

ST– Strength Training; Such as free weights, weight machines

LR– Long Run;

T-Tempo Run; “comfortably hard”—one that could be maintained for an hour in a race. (per Jack Daniels, PhD Author of Human Kinetics)

SI– Speed Intervals; Sets of short sprints. One time around a standard track is 400 meters. 4 times around a standard track is 1600 meters, which equals one (1) mile. An example you might see is 4 X 400. In track this would mean that four different people on a relay team will run 100 meters a piece. But in distance running this means 4 sets of running around the track one (1) time with a break in between. I will do another post on speed intervals.

NS-Negative Split Run; This is when you run the last of your run at a faster pace than for first portion.

Understanding these terms can actually turn your daily runs from just running into an actual workout. Going by a running schedule helps you set realistic goals and realistic steps towards achieving them. Please refer to my blog post Don’t Do’s For The New to read how to set a SMART Goal.

I really hope this helps folks. Let me know your thoughts on this post. And if there are any acronyms I forgot, please post them.

Love, Peace, and Sweat,

Monisha R.

Monisha is the author of Runner’s Revelations: How Running Changed My Walk. To learn more about Monisha, her book, and her mission, please visit


  • Mary says:

    Great post! It can be intimidating to get a program and not know exactly what everything means! Good thing runners are so helpful and encouraging of each other. 🙂

    • Alexandria says:

      Yes I agree! I enjoy many of the runners and triathletes all around. Folks are so helpful and willing to educate others.

  • I do negative split runs all the time in a race and had no idea. I speed up towards the end knowing I only have a mile or two to go. At that point, I’m trying to hurry up and finish… because a sistha is tired! LOL! Thanks Moe!

  • Thank you so much for this!! I encounter this on running blogs all the time and feel to intimidated to ask what alot of it means!

    • Alexandria says:

      Cool! Even I learned a few things!! Great refreshers isn’t it.

    • Monisha says:

      Kenda, I totally understand. Whenever I am confused about something I usually tell myself “I know I’m not the only person that doesn’t know what this means.” So I ask questions with the mindset that I am a spokesperson for those who don’t know versus feeling like I’m the only one that doesn’t know 🙂

  • Cherelle says:

    Ok, I’m glad I’m not the only one confused by running terminology. Still trying to figure out the difference between speed intervals and pickups. I’m wondering if these are the same. Also, what do they mean 90% effort? I normally run between a 10:00 to 10:45 minute mile so I wonder if that means I run faster than that or what. Can you tell I’m confused?!!!

    • Alexandria says:

      Monisha will personally help you! Thanks so much for asking 🙂 I sent her a note because this is her area of expertise. She is going to be an awesome running coach. We love teaching and hosting sessions to help others. If you are in the DFW area come meet Monisha personally at our meetup event! She can give you a personal consultation.

    • Monisha says:

      All of these are great questions Cherelle. I’ll keep it simple. You have what is called an easy, comfortably hard, and hard pace. Everyone’s is different. If you can run and sing The Fresh Prince of Bel Air with ease you’re at your easy pace. If it takes a little effort to sing your ABC’s, you’re at your comfortably hard pace. If I asked you how you are doing while running and you can barely say “OK!” That’s your hard pace. Knowing these three paces will help you add more structure to your. You only want to run at your hard pace on speed intervals. That’s the easiest way I know how to explain it.

  • Sonya Elder says:

    I Started walking 5 miles a day in September …I now push myself to jog for 2 and speed walk 3 …even working in sprints for 30 seconds at a time….I need a plan!

    • Monisha says:

      Hey Sonya! That’s awesome. If you are running 2 miles you are way beyond a Couch to 5K plan. Look for something that is 8 to 12 weeks long and you should be fine. Check out my response to Cherelle (above) on how to figure out your easy, comfortably hard and hard pace. When you’re picking a running schedule, make sure you find one that fits your schedule. I like to do my LRs on Saturday or Monday but a bunch of running schedules place it on Sunday. So feel free to tweak it to your life. Keep me posted! My email is

  • Stephanie McGary says:

    Yes, the running schedules are very intimidating first glance…. :/

  • Scymentress says:

    Great information Monisha. I wish someone had provided this information to me when I started running about a year ago. After looking at several running programs, I Googled the acronyms and then I had to Google strength training, cross training and tempo runs. I never guessed running would be so complicated. But I realize that there is a method to the madness and successful distance runners have mastered it.

    • I remember doing the same thing Scymentress. I remember spending hours looking up different terms and cross referencing them. Hopefully, through my blogs I can cut down the learning curve for people who are new to running 🙂

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