A-Z Running Terms

Are you newbie runner? Do you often find yourself confused with the abundance of running terms? Not sure what all the abbreviations mean and embarrassed to ask your running buddies? Fret no more, you have come to the right place. Below is a A-Z database of running terms. As I discover or people invent new terms I will update.

Bandit: A sneaky cheater who runs the race without registering or paying.

Bib: Paper with a runner’s number. It is usually attached to your shirts to wear during the race.

Bling: Race medals and or other finisher swag.  Also know as hardware.

BPM: The heart rate or beats per minute (BPM) is the number of heartbeats during a minute. See (here) for more info.

BQ: AKA a Boston Marathon qualifying race and finishing time.

Cadence: The number of steps taken per minute while running.

Carbo-loading/Carb Loading: Loading up before a long run or race, aka eating all the pasta, bread, and bagels you want.

Chafing: Chafing is not fun. It happens when sweat and fabric rub against the skin while running. It can cause painful irritations, blisters and rashes. If you have a chafing issues make sure you have good quality wicking gear and or use Bodyglide

Chip Time: Measured by an electronic chip attached to your sneaker or built into the bib. It calculates the actual time it takes a runner to get from the start line to the finish line.

Compression Socks: Usually worn post-run, compression socks (aka very snug, knee-high tube socks) are said to speed recovery. They can also be worn during races; some think they get oxygen to the leg muscles faster.

Corral: Larger races divide runners into groups or corrals. This is where you line up in relation to the starting line and is based on expected finishing times, faster runners at the front.

Cross-training: Exercises other than running that improve overall fitness and strength. Examples include Yoga, Spinning, Kettlebells, Swimming, Cross Fit and weight training 

Dreadmill: Runners who dread running indoors refer to the Treadmill as the Dreadmill.

DNF: Did not finish the race

DNS: Did not start the race

Elite: Pros, Professionals, Really fast really awesome runners.

Easy Run: Slow light runs are that are done at a conversational pace.

Expo:  Often where you must pick up your bib, t-shirt and other race materials. Good one’s have lots of freebies, aka Swag.

Fartleks: Meaning “speed play” in Swedish, these are informal beginner speed workouts. See (here) for more.

Foam Roller: A foam cylinder used to massage/stretch various muscle groups.

Fuel: Often refers to energy gels, chews, bars, and other portable ‘snacks’. Try a bunch (before race day) and stick to the few that don’t make you gag. Fuel is used to replace glycogen and prevent hitting the wall.

Garmin: Popular brand of GPS watches. The track distance, pace, heart rate, and more. Nike also makes (this) popular one.

Glycogen: Simple explanation is the body’s storage of glucose. Would rather know the complicated scientific answer? See (here)

Hardware: Race medals, or belt buckles if you run Ultras.

Hill Repeats: A form of speedwork. Run up hill, walk or run slowly down. This is said to improve over all speed and strength.

Hitting the Wall: Usually happens around Mile 20, it is when runners will feel like they can’t continue,

Ice Baths: Not my thing but runners swear by them. Fill up the tub with ice water and sit in it. Ice Baths can reduce inflammation and aid in the post-long run recovery process.

Interval Training: A form of speedwork where you run at a challenging pace, stop to rest—but only partially recover. Also know as Intervals

ITBS: Injury to the IT band in the leg. Massage, stretching, and strength training tend to help.

Lactic Acid: Formed when the body cannot generate energy using oxygen. See (here) for more info.

LSD: Long Slow Distances. A form of a training run.

Moisture-Wicking Clothing: Non-cotton running attire that wicks sweat away from your body, it keeps you cool and blister free.

Negative Splits: Rrunning the second half of a run (usually a race) faster than the first half. (Thanks Sean)

PB/ PR: Personal Best or Personal Record for a specific race distance.

Pace: time it takes to clock one mile, also can be a type of run based aka long run pace, marathon pace, 5K pace, and so on. To learn more about your pace use the Runners World calculators (here)

Plantar Fasciitis: Pain under the heel, often caused by overuse. See (here)

Pronation: The way the foot strikes the ground while running. See (here) for more info

Recovery Run: Short, slow run that takes place within a day after a long, harder run.

Rest Day: Day off from all things running & workout related. At least once a week but no more than 3 times.

RUNch: Running during lunch time. Run + Lunch = RUNch. I believe PavementRunner coined the term?

Runger: Extreme hunger following a run.

Runner’s High: A state of pure bliss during or immediately after an awesome run. Better than a ‘high’ from drugs.

Runner’s Knee: A common overuse injuries. Pain tends to be isolated on or around the kneecap and can feel like the knee is “giving out.”

Shin Splints: A common unpleasant running injury characterized by pain in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle, see (here) for more info

Singlet: A sleeveless tank top worn while racing. Often has a runner’s team, charity or brand on it.

Streaker/Streak:  Streak is a running consecutively every day for an extended period of time. Check out the details for the Holiday #RWRunStreak 

Speedwork: Makes you faster, fitter and able to run longer/harder. Fartleks, Tempo Runs and Intervals are examples.

Swag: Freebies, Samples, Shirts, Hats, Usually in the race good bag or given out at the expo.

Taper: A few weeks before a big race, a runner will decrease their total running mileage to store energy. Also known as ‘Taper Madness’ – tapers have been known to cause irritability, excessive hunger (runger) mood swings, meltdowns and cabin fever.

Tempo Run: A tougher form of speed training where you try to hold a hard (but not too too hard) pace for around a 20-minute period during a run.

Tights: Spandex leggings or capris used to run in and to keep warm (when you buy warm winter ones) Warning:

VO2 Max: The body’s maximum oxygen intake. Some runners love to push and can increase their VO2 Max with harder training. See (here) for more info.

Ultras/Ultramarathon/Ultramarathoner:  Racing distances that are longer than 26.2 miles. Typical distances are 50K, 100K, 50 miles, or 100 miles.

I’m sure I missed something(s) please let me know in the comments. I’ll add it and credit you. 


    Negative Splits...My fav kind of splits!

    SeanHarts (@SeanHarts) | 6 years ago Reply

      Can't believe I forgot all kinds of splits, thanks!!

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    love this! I didn't even know half of these words haha!

    Danielle @ Itsaharleyyylife | 6 years ago Reply

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