Running Jargon | Running Acronymns

Anytime you get involved in a new activity, it can sound as though people around you are speaking a foreign language. Running is no exception. Here are a few basics that will help you to understand and communicate:

5k - distance of 5,000 meters or 3.1 miles

8k - distance of 8,000 meters or approximately 5 miles (4.97 miles)

10k - distance of 10,000 meters or 6.2 miles

15k - 15,000 meters or 9.3 miles

Aerobic When you exercise or run at a steady pace so that the exertion level that does not leave you excessively out of breath.

Bandit Someone who runs in a race or training program without being officially registered.

Bannister, Sir Roger English runner first broke 4-minute mile barrier in 1954

Bear point in the race or interval where lactic acid buildup physically changes your stride as if you were carrying a bear on your back

Blood Doping runner extracts own blood then uses it as a transfusion prior to a race to increase the number of oxygen carrying red blood cells

Bloody Nipples caused by long hot runs in which sweat and chafing rub nipples raw

Bodyglide® lubricating product to prevent chafing and skin irritation

Bonk crashing in a race (usually a marathon) attributed to running out of fuel

Carbo-Loading Eating extra carbohydrates in the days prior to a long run or race.

Cool-down Slow running or jogging done after a workout.

CoolMax Brand name of a special material that helps "wick" away moisture from the body. These fabrics are soft and light and help you feel more comfortable when exercising.

Course Record (CR) Course Record. The fastest time recorded on a given race course.

Cross Training training strategy which uses other forms of aerobic exercise such as swimming, cycling, cross country skiing

DNF did not finish

DNS did not start

Double-clutch a pattern of breathing in which a runner inhales two breaths for every breath exhaled.

Energy Gels (also carbo gels) rather expensive commercially prepared semi-liquid carbohydrate snack packaged in single serving pouches, used as a supplement by cyclists and long distance runners during long periods of exercise. Designer product made to provide an energy boost without the inconvenience of chewing.

EST explosive strength training, using sprints and jumps rather than weights and machines for conditioning. Uses sprint and jumping exercises that maximize height and distance and minimize contact time on ground.

Fartlek Swedish term ("speed play") for workouts where you vary the pace of your running – a mix of slow, moderate, and quick paces at different intervals.

Fun Run A casual, non-competitive group run popular with running clubs and running stores.

Fast Twitch muscle fibers that determine if a runner is suited to sprints

Flats non-spiked shoes

Glycogen Primary fuel source for the body during aerobic exercise. Carbohydrates are turned into glycogen when stored in muscles.

Hit the Wall a sudden bonk in which you die so suddenly it is as if you ran into a wall

Hypoglycemia An abnormally low level of sugar in the blood.

Hyponatremia An abnormally low level of sodium in the blood.

Hypopnea Abnormally slow and shallow breathing.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Tissue that extends from the hip to the outer part of the knee.

Intervals system of training using repeated short distances at greater than or near race pace

Jack Rabbit taking off fast from the start

Junk Miles many miles run at a slow pace, attributed to a training strategy by runners who confuse high mileage counts with improvement

Kicks udden surge that takes you over the line

Lactic Threshold point at which you cross the sissy-baby line from aerobic to anaerobic activity, producing lactic acid in the muscles, a byproduct of anaerobic exertion

LSD long slow distances

Marathon long distance race run over 42 km 195 m or 26 miles 385 yards. Introduced at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 to commemorate the run by a Greek courier from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC. See Pheidippides.

Negative Splits running the last half of a race faster than the first half

Orthotics Special shoe inserts designed to help runners compensate for biomechanical problems and injury. Orthotics are often molded to a runner’s foot.

Over-Pronator running form in which foot rolls inward too much; likely to have flat foot

Pheidippides According to legend, Greek courier who ran the 24 miles or 39 kilometers from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC with news of a Greek victory over the Persians. After delivering the message, he collapsed and died. See marathon.

Plantar Fasciitis Inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue between muscles in the mid-foot and the skin on the bottom of the foot which attaches the ball of the foot to the heel. Common and painful problem for runners. Causes can include lack of arch support, increased miles, poor flexibility in calf muscles, overweight.

PR Personal Record.

Pronator running form with moderate inward rotation of the foot, likely to have medium arch height

Quads four large muscles at front of thighs

Rabbit a runner who pushes the field to a better time then drops out of the race before the final laps

Sandbagger a fast runner with a talent for acting who will masquerade as a slow runner to lure the competition into complacency.

Slow twitch muscle fibers that determine if a runner is suited to distance running

Splits Your times between mile markers during a race or between selected points during a training run. "She ran splits of 9:00, 9:10, and 8:50 on her way to a 27:00-minute 5k."

Stride the distance traveled in a single long step

Supinator not enough inward motion of foot; likely to have a high, rigid arch (same as under-pronator)

Sweats sloppy, loose fitting cotton clothing which absorbs moisture and gets very heavy when wet

Taper Scaling back mileage prior to a big or long race. Tapering helps muscles rest so that they are ready for optimum performance on race day.

Tempo Runs Training runs, usually 30 to 45 minutes in length. A warm up progresses to more intense pacing ranging from one minute per mile slower than 10k race pace to 15 seconds slower than 10k pace at the latter stages of the run.

Ultra An "ultra-marathon". Any race that's longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

Under-pronator not enough inward motion of foot; likely to have a high, rigid arch (same as supinator)

VO2max maximum oxygen intake

The Wall A point where your body's glycogen reserves are severely depleted or exhausted. Typically occurs during the latter stages of long runs and races such as a marathon.

Wicking A specialized fiber's ability to draw perspiration away from the skin.