Running Terms You Need to Know
Running—like any other exploit, activity, or sport – has its own lexicon. While none of it is particularly obscure, some of the running vocabulary we use on the daily can leave folks new to the game feeling like they’re on the outside looking in. And with some surveys suggesting nearly 30% of today’s runners have just come to the sport since the pandemic… that’s a whole lot of runners who’ve never talked the talk. Let’s fix that.
Here are some common running terms and a few extras you’ll hear at the group runs, races, and on the social media accounts you’re following.
Bib: You’ll get one of these at most every race or more formal running event you sign up for. It’s got your participant number on it and, more than likely, your timing chip is attached. (More on that in a minute) It’s to be worn on the front of your shirt, visible to race officials, photographers, and volunteers.
Chip: This is essentially a tiny transponder attached to your race bib that is “read” by computer as you cross over the start line, the finish line, and other checkpoints along the event route. “Chip time” is the total time it took you to cross the start line and reach the finish. This differs from “gun time;” which is elapsed time between the official event start and your finish time.
Conversational Pace: Quite literally, a pace that you can hold and also sustain a conversation. While far from scientific, it’s safe to say that if you’re running comfortably enough to engage in conversation, you’re not overdoing it.
Dreadmill: A not-so-loving reference to a run or workout completed on a treadmill. Hey, we get it. The treadmill is not for everybody.
Negative Split: Running the second half of a race or training run faster than the first half. This strategy is often used to conserve energy early on and finish strong.
Plogging: A casual run punctuated with bouts of picking up litter along the running route or path. The term merges the word “jogging” with the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” which means, “pick up.” It’s easy to do, and requires nothing more than a trash bag. Some disposable gloves are a nice touch, too.
Run Clubs: Generally, a casual weekly run at a set time and location. Often starting at coffee shops and breweries, these laid-back runs provide community and an opportunity to socialize. Distances range from 1 to 5 miles, and are approachable for most any pace.
Runner’s High: The much-talked of euphoric feeling often experienced during or after a run, characterized by a release of endorphins that produces a sense of well-being and reduced pain perception. You’ll know it when you feel it.
Streak: Running on consecutive days, for a set distance, without fail. The generally accepted minimum distance is at least one mile on either the roads, and can be completed on the road, track, trails, or on a treadmill. Your run streak can be for weeks, months, years, or as long as you can keep it up.
Taper: The period of reduced training volume and intensity leading up to a race. This down period allows the body to recover and store energy for peak performance.
Did we miss a term that should be added to this starter list? Is there a running word or term you’d like to know more about it? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #