Talk Test: An old-school method in a modern world
To say it’s been a tricky time for the world over the past two years would be an understatement. But it seems many of us are now starting to emerge from our Covid hibernation. Around the world, things are beginning to return to normal as shops, cinemas, sporting arenas and gyms reopen. These reopenings have brought with them a sense of normality that many had longed for throughout the darker periods.
For some, though, when it comes to exercise, the idea of returning to their gyms may not be front and centre in their minds. Once we got over the initial idea that gyms and fitness centres would be closed for an extended period (and the rush to buy up ever-scarce gym equipment subsided), some began to find it quite enjoyable. We were being given the chance to train in our living rooms, gardens or in our local parks and trails. So, for some, the reopening of gyms may not see a total return to the old normal. This isn’t to say that people no longer have the desire to use a gym – there are obvious advantages, including more varied or specific equipment and potentially greater comfort during the winter months. But it seems likely that many will continue to train, at least occasionally, in the settings they became used to during respective lockdowns.
The idea of a shorter journey to our exercise space, enjoying the great outdoors, or saving some money by having a cheaper gym membership sounds great, but can we be sure that we’re getting equal benefits from our new training programs? Specifically, in this blog, we’re going to consider whether we are working at the right intensity for what we’re trying to achieve when we train. To be clear, this isn’t to say ‘are we working hard enough?’, as anyone can train until they throw up, but are we working in a way that fits our goals, be they a recovery, light, medium or hard day?
Now, as I write this, I can see you looking over at your tech pile and thinking you’ve got it all covered. You’ve got your phone with your subscription running app on it, you’ve got your heart rate belt, you’ve got your watch that tells you all you need to know, and that’s just the start of it. And I’m not saying that all of those things aren’t useful. But what if you forget something, you’re out of town, you didn’t remember to charge something, or you’re new to the game and haven’t amassed the whole Batman utility belt just yet? What can we use to measure our intensity of effort then? One such option is the Talk Test. You may have heard of this before, but today we’ll cover the what, when, why and should yous of this test to see whether it can help us get the most from our workouts in the simplest way possible.