Running Terms Cheat Sheet


200m – Half a lap of track

400m – 1 lap around track, also called a “quarter”

Mile – 1609 meters; approximately 4 laps around track

5K – 5,000 meters; 5 Kilometers; 3.1 miles

10K – 10,000 meters; 10 kilometers; 6.2 miles

15K – 15,000 meters; 15 kilometers; 9.3 miles

Half-marathon – 13.1 miles; 21.1K

Marathon – 26.2 miles; 42.2K


Aerobic – With oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of low
to moderate intensity

Aerobic Capacity – Also called VO2max; maximum amount of oxygen
that can be utilized by the body; also describes a type of training that increases
the amount of oxygen that can be utilized, i.e., Aerobic Capacity Intervals

Anaerobic – Without oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of
high to very high intensity

Carbo-loading – The dietary practice of eating a high carbohydrate
diet (approximately 60-70% of total calories) for the three days leading up to a
race to maximally fill the glycogen stores

Carbohydrate – Essential nutrient of body found in pastas, breads,
fruits, vegetables; should comprise the majority of calories in a runner’s diet;
stored in the body as glycogen in the muscles and liver; overconsumption is converted
to fat

Cool-down – Slow, easy running done after a workout to help you
recover more quickly

Cross-Training – Activities such as swimming and cycling that are
used to increase conditioning and injury prevention for running or as a means of
adding variety to workout schedule

Cruise Intervals – Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold;
usually repetitions of 800 meters to 2-miles performed at the lactate threshold
speed with short recoveries

DNF – Stands for “did not finish” and describes a runner who drops
out of a race

Fartlek – Swedish word for speedplay; workout includes faster running
mixed with slower running; adds variety to training and can be performed in any

Glucose – Basic sugar; form of sugar into which all carbohydrates
are first converted and appear in the blood

Glycogen – The form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body;
there are two main stores of glycogen – the liver and the muscles; when glycogen
stores are depleted athletes fatigue, “hit the wall”, “bonk”; stores can be maximally
filled by eating a high carbohydrate diet leading up to an event

Heart Rate Monitor – A device that measures the electrical activity
of the heart (heart rate); usually consists of a chest strap and watch-like wrist

Hills – Workouts where a runner runs up a hill fast and jogs down
then runs up again; helps develop leg power and aerobic capacity

Intervals – Type of workout where a set distance is run repeatedly
with a recovery jog between; for example 6 times 400 meters with 100 meters recovery

Lactate Threshold – The running intensity where lactic acid begins
to rapidly accumulate in the blood. Also called anaerobic threshold; lactate threshold
speed is your 10K race pace plus 5-20 seconds or a heart rate zone between 85-89%
of maximum.

Lactic Acid – A by-product of the body’s use of carbohydrates;
usually associated with muscle stiffness and burn after a hard workout

Long Runs – Longest run of the week; usually on the weekend

LSD – Long, slow distance; slow running designed to improve endurance

Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) – The highest number of contractions
your heart can make in one minute

Negative Splits – Running the second half of a race faster than
the first half

Overpronation – The excessive inward roll of the foot; overpronation
can be controlled through the use of motion control shoes and/or orthotics

Overtraining – Condition when runner trains too much too soon and
leads to fatigue, injury and/or burn-out

Oxygen Debt – A state where the energy demand is greater than what
can be provided by oxygen thus inducing heavy breathing to consume more oxygen

Pace – Measure of the speed of running; usually quantified as minutes
taken to run a mile; for example a runner may run a 7:00 per mile pace for a marathon

PR – Personal Record or Personal Best; fastest time a runner has
run for a given distance

Pronation – The natural, inward roll of the foot; pronation begins
when heel contacts the ground, the foot then rolls inward to absorb shock and transfer
weight to the ball of the foot as it prepares to push off. It is a natural and necessary
motion for running and walking.

Quarters – Jargon for a quarter mile or 400 meters; often used
when describing workouts where runners run 400-meter (or quarter) repeats

Recovery Runs – Slow to moderate running to recover from hard workouts
or races and/or maintain aerobic conditioning

Repeats – See “Intervals”

Resting Heart Rate – The number of times your heart beats per minute
when you are relaxed and still; usually measured first thing in the morning before
getting out of bed

Shin Splints – Lower leg injury where there is pain along the shin
bone; usually caused by excessive pronation or weak shin muscles; treat with ice
and stretching and strengthening exercises; can lead to stress fractures

Singlet – A light weight tank top worn by runners

Speed Work – Short, fast intervals with recovery jogs between;
increases your leg turnover and maximizes your stamina and race confidence

Split Times - Denotes the time it takes to run a portion of a total
run (often measured at mile markers or other distinctive points along the way);
for example, a runner may run a 7:00 mile split between miles 4 and 5 of a 10K (6.2-mile

Striders – Short, fast but controlled runs lasting 15-45 seconds
followed by full recovery; benefits include faster leg turnover and improvements
in running form

Supination – See “Underpronation”

Taper – Reducing your mileage several days to three weeks before
an important race to ensure peak performance on race day

Tempo Runs – Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold;
usually consists of 15-30 minutes of running at the lactate threshold speed

Ultra-marathon – Races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles)

Underpronation – The lack of sufficient inward motion of the foot;
highly cushioned, flexible shoes are recommended to absorb shock and allow the foot
to pronate naturally. (also “Supination”).

VO2max – Also called maximal aerobic capacity; maximum amount of
oxygen that can be utilized by the body; higher V02max generally equals better performance;
can be improved with training but has a genetic limit

The Wall or Hitting the Wall – A state of exhaustion when your
body runs out of glycogen or energy; usually around the 20 mile point in a marathon
(also “Bonk”)

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