It can be daunting turning up to a run club or a regular run, everyone seems to be in the same kit, they speak a different language, how can you crack the code, fit in and even just understand what is being said.

Here is our blaggers guide to running jargon, the terms and phrases you need to know

Running Terms for How To Get Faster

  1. Fartlek – Training method where runners will accelerate for a brief time then slow back down to a jog. This kind of training can happen over many miles.
  2. Repeats – Training sessions that consist of a specified distance run numerous times. For example, 4×1 mile would be running four, one mile repeats with a rest period in between. Target each repeat at or around the same lap time.
  3. Interval Training – Type of training that utilizes high-intensity (HI) segments with low-intensity (LI) recovery segments. For example, after a warm-up, 30 seconds HI with 60 seconds LI, 60 seconds HI with 60 seconds LI, 45 seconds HI with 45 seconds LI. Distances of intervals vary by training goal.
  4. Ladder Workout – Type of interval training that involves starting with a lower distance and increasing the next interval by a specified distance, and typically working back down by the same specified distances. For example, intervals of 200, 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, and 200 meters run at the target pace.
  5. Tempo Run – Type of training run involving a steady pace around 20 to 30 seconds slower than marathon goal pace and for 8 to 13 miles.
  6. Long run – Depending on the distance that a runner is training for, a long run might be 16-28 miles for a marathon or 30 to 50 for an ultra race.
  7. Doubles – A running term to describe running twice a day.


Other Running Terms for Training

  1. Strength training – Training that includes runner specific weight lifting routines to help become stronger and more efficient.
  2. Deliberate practice – Deliberate practice is a term coined by K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist at Florida State University, and refers to a practice that incorporates setting goals, developing skills, and correcting mistakes. The effort is as much mental as it is physical.
  3. Taper – Easy running and a rest period prior to a race. This period can begin two or three weeks prior to the race date.
  4. Chi running – Type of running designed with the principles of relaxation, posture and mindfulness of Tai Chi.
  5. Simulator Run – Term keyed by Team Hansons Brooks in which a runner will run a 26.2k (16 miles) training race at their marathon pace, prior to their taper period. Hansons Brooks studies have shown that if a runner can hit their goal pace for the 16 miles when muscles are tired, they should be able to run the same speed during a marathon after their taper. Hansons Brooks has had two marathoners make the Olympic team. One in 2008 and one in 2012.
  6. Dress rehearsal – Running a good training run while wearing the clothes and shoes, eating the same foods and drinking the same fluids, as expected to do on race day. This will help to build confidence and test anything that might be a question.
  7. LSD – No, not the popular 1960s drug. LSD stands for a long, slow distance run. For beginners, this run might be 5 miles. For more advanced runners, LSD can range from 18-30 miles. If training for an ultra marathon of 65 to 100 miles, some runners might go 50 miles on their LSD.
  8. Altitude training – Training for several weeks at elevations higher than 8000 ft. Runners that utilize this type of training can adapt to the relative lack of oxygen in one or more ways such as increasing the mass of red blood cells and haemoglobin. The result can be faster times in races at or near sea level.
  9. Walk breaks – Exactly as it sounds, this running term was made popular by marathon legend, Jeff Galloway.
  10. Easy run – Recovery run at least two minutes per mile slower than goal pace.
  11. Negative Split – Running the second portion of a course faster than the first.


Running Terms for Supplements and Stations

  1. Gels – Quick source of carbohydrate energy that comes in individual packets. Runners typically eat one every 30 to 45 minutes during a race.
  2. Glycogen – Long carbohydrate molecules that are made and stored primarily in the cells of the liver and the muscles. Glycogen is the secondary long-term energy source.
  3. Carb loading – Period of time prior to a race when runners cut back on proteins and fats and increase their carbohydrates to increase glycogen storage.
  4. Fuel – Fuel can come from different sources such as gels, food and electrolyte replacement drinks.
  5. Buffet – Ultra running aid station.
  6. Aid station – Station during a race where water, gels, electrolyte drinks and/or food are given to runners.


Running Terms for Injuries

  1. Chafe – Chaffing happens around the armpits or between the legs when the skin becomes irritated from friction.
  2. Chapped – When the insides of your legs become painful with a burning sensation due to the friction of repetitive motion. There are many other similar running terms to describe this, but chapping and chaffing are the most common.
  3. Dead toes – Maybe the most painful running terms. Dead toenails that have turned black and have blisters.
  4. Runner’s knee – Knee pain around the kneecap. Usually more noticeable when squatting or bending.
  5. Runners toes – Black toenails or toes that have lost nails due to the pressure and repetitive friction of shoes on the toes.
  6. RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. To help recover from injury.
  7. DOMS – Delayed onset muscle soreness. This is the soreness that sets in days after training or racing. Some specially designed supplement formulas help decrease this.
  8. Bloody nipples – Occurrence that happens when the friction from a shirt and the nipple rub together over a long race.
  9. IT Band – Band on the outside of the knee that can cause pain with overuse (also known as Iliotibial band).
  10. Runners trots – Having an upset stomach and needing to have a bowel movement during a race. This is one of those running terms that would only make sense to a runner who has experienced it.
  11. Lactic Acid – Acid byproduct of metabolism that builds up in muscles and blood during intense exercise. It is noticed when muscles begin to burn and/or ache, and can also result in a feeling of breathlessness or tachycardia.
  12. Stitch – Side ache. Stitches usually go away with some slower, deeper breathing.

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