VIDEO: PRP Color Continuum
Our goal in creating the Peak Run Performance Color Continuum is to make training accessible to all, regardless of language or level of education.
Rather than rigid lines, ranges, and zones, we intentionally blurred & blended the lines because training isn’t black and white and shouldn’t be based entirely on numeric metrics. Training is about finding the right combination of stress and rest through a variety of efforts. It’s about pushing the threshold between aerobic and anaerobic efforts while adequately recovering between efforts. We feel color illustrates this blending better than words.
Each color along the continuum represents an effort and purpose:
GREEN = REVITALIZATION
Green is a symbol of life and vitality. Green activities like sleep, yoga, massage, and foam rolling give life back to the body. On one end of the continuum lies revitalization.
YELLOW = SPEED
On the opposite end of the continuum lies speed. Yellow is the color eyes & skin turn when the body is depleted. Yellow efforts are anaerobic which means they require more oxygen than the body can access under duress. Anaerobic efforts are short, intense, and hard. Anaerobic efforts require considerably more recovery time between efforts to recover.
BLUE = AEROBIC BASE
Blue is the color of fully oxygenated blood. Blue efforts are aerobic meaning "with oxygen."Blue efforts use as much oxygen as is readily available during exercise without crossing the threshold into anaerobic efforts without sufficient oxygen to sustain the effort. Blue efforts increase endurance by increasing the body’s oxygen carrying capacity.
AQUA = ACTIVE RECOVERY
The blending of blue and green makes aqua. Aerobic efforts done with the intent to recover vs. build endurance are sometimes referred to as active recovery. These efforts can include recovery runs, warm ups, cool downs, and aerobic cross training like cycling, swimming, hiking, cross country skiing, aquajogging, etc.
RED = THRESHOLD
Red represents “the red line”or threshold between aerobic and anaerobic efforts. Blood turns red when it comes in contact with carbon dioxide. Threshold is often described as the effort one could sustain for one hour. For some, that might be 5K effort. For the best in the world, that could be half marathon effort. Endurance events beyond one hour must be run below the threshold to ensure that the body receives enough oxygen to sustain the effort.
PURPLE = STEADY STATE & CUT DOWNS
The blending of blue and red makes purple. Purple represents aerobic efforts just below threshold effort. These efforts can take on a couple of different forms: cut down runs that start easy & work their way up to threshold efforts, steady state runs or intervals (2 - 2.5 hour race effort - marathon effort for elites). These types of efforts prime the body for harder efforts and increase aerobic capacity.
ORANGE = CRITICAL VELOCITY, STRENGTH, & HILLS
Red and yellow combine to make orange. Orange efforts range from slightly beyond threshold efforts - what Tom “Tinman” Schwartz calls Critical Velocity - to equally as anaerobic strength and hill workouts.
COACHING BY WAY OF COLOR CODING
Despite the fact that each of our coaches speaks multiple languages and has lived and worked in multiple countries, we feel that the ability to communicate through the universal language of color helps clarify and simplify training for the vast majority of runners regardless of their running history or level of education.
We color code each activity in a training plan to better communicate its purpose and illustrate how it fits within the overall plan in relation to other activities.