Welcome to the weird and wonderful words of running. If you’ve ever wondered about all the seemingly incomprehensible things coming out of runners’ mouths, you’ve come to the right place. Even a quick study will put you well on your way to being fluent in the language of lap splits, PRs, rabbits, and snot rockets. Just don’t try to use all of them in one sentence
(verb) – Frequently referred to as “hitting the wall,” this term describes the condition of feeling like you simply cannot go on. Usually it can be prevented. If you stay hydrated, stay fueled, and stay positive, that wall may never materialize. No promises though.
(noun, verb) – A favorite word among the running community but a total mystery to non-runners, fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish, and refers to faster, unstructured speed segments during a training run. Got that? Fun, fast running, not remotely related to embarrassing bodily emissions.
GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) DISTRESS
(noun) – Must. Find. Bathroom. Eventually we all experience the severe discomfort when your stomach revolts. Long runs, races, speed workouts—all are susceptible to bathroom urges. You can research good and bad pre-workout foods, but experience is the best teacher in this scenario.
(noun) – Not hot sauce, not a dance move, this kind of kick refers to the natural (and totally awesome) impulse to push harder at the end of a race. Use with caution while training, but on race day, put it all out there.
(verb) – Generally defined as running the second half of your route or race faster than the first half. Guaranteed to give you all the good feels and add a shot of confidence to push harder when you’re tired.
“NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE”
(noun) – One of the more obscure running terms, this phrase refers to the night leading up to a big run or race when sleep is the most important. It supercharges your body to race, leaving the night before the race for you to toss and turn as you consider the big (but exciting) task ahead. Rest easy, you’ve already slept plenty.
(noun) – The average speed over a given distance, typically in per-mile increments. So if you run 5 miles in 25 minutes, your pace is 5:00 per mile (lightning fast). If you run 5 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes, your pace is 20:00 per mile (enough time to stop and smell the roses).
(noun) – Like shin splints, plantar fasciitis is a running-related injury. An inflammation of the connective tissue in the heel and lower achilles tendon, plantar fasciitis is especially hard to heal, with total rest (and a few consolatory beers) being the most recommended treatment.
(noun) – Stands for “personal record” and is the stat you share (or brag about) with other runners. You can also use PB for “personal best.” Feel free to add ridiculous qualifiers as they do in other sports such as baseball, i.e. “my fastest 10k in the last 7 years while wearing a chicken suit.”
(noun) – In professional races when insanely fast people want to go even faster, they’ll have a “rabbit” (also called a pacer), whose entire job is to run fast early on, and then drop out on purpose. They get paid to do it, and including a rabbit usually produces fast times, which is exciting for runners and spectators alike, but it’s hard not to wonder if any of them just want to ditch their job and race to win.
(noun) – Treacherous, unscrupulous runners who hop into a race without officially being entered, or runners who otherwise take part in a race via nefarious or illicit means. Don’t be that runner. Support race organizations and respect your fellow (legitimate) racers.
(noun) – No mind-altering substances here, just the pure, natural, warm-and-fuzzy feelings that can occur during (or just after) a run. You may feel the urge to whoop, holler, and hoot your joy on the trail or road, all of which we greatly encourage.
(noun) – A running sin often committed by foolish teammates who save their effort for the last repeat of the workout, thereby beating everyone who gives full effort from the beginning. Not cool man, not cool.
(noun) – A common ailment wherein the front of your lower legs (yep, shins), can feel sore or painful to the point where you can no longer run. There’s no hard and fast scientific cause for shin splints, but common theories include running on hard surfaces too frequently, adding mileage too quickly, and running in worn-out shoes (psst…buy new ones here).
(noun) – The incredible, tissue-free solution for blowing your nose on the run. Simply put finger to nostril, blow snot out the other side, and voila, run sniff-free. Tell your training partners to steer clear the first few attempts, and always look over your shoulder to verify a clear shot.
(noun) – A wise man once said, “If you want to run fast, you have to run faster.” A bit simplistic maybe, but speedwork—running faster in short sections—will help improve your race time and overall fitness.
(noun) – It’s not what you think, unless you’re thinking, “A person who runs in some sort of consecutive, impressive manner,” i.e. running at least once a day for 25 years or running 50 Boston Marathons. Be impressed, or jealous, or both.
(noun) – Frequently bandied about by runners of all speeds, “tempo” seems to mean whatever you want it to mean, but is generally accepted as being a pace faster than your race pace, used in workouts considered pretty challenging.
(noun) – Any distance over a standard 26.2-mile marathon. 26.3 miles? Voila, you’re an ultramarathoner. Careful spreading that around though, someone might think you want to run 30, 50, even 100 miles.
Now that you’re brushed up on your runner vocab, find your new solemate with the Brooks Shoe Finder!