Running Terminology

Have you ever been out on an LSD (Long Slow Distance) run where the plan was to ‘negative split’ while your running mates discussed how they might achieve a BQ (Boston Qualifier) because they have been increasing their ‘lactate threshold’ via ‘tempo’ runs every other week? Have you simply nodded and smiled while pretending to have a clue what they were talking about? Or, perhaps you are a seasoned runner, but never found the time to research all the terminology runners toss around.

The following is a list of terms which we will add to over the years to enhance your running vocabulary. This should at the very least get you started. The list is far from comprehensive and the definitions are simplified so you do not have to read between the lines. If there is a term that you would like us to dissect, shoot me an email at and I will do my best to update the list.

Aerobic: the use of oxygen. An aerobic effort would be in the form of a longer run at relatively low intensity.

Bandit: someone who runs a race (typically a larger road race) without registering. WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE THIS BEHAVIOUR

Bonk: to run out of fuel. Generally speaking, people are referring to glycogen stores being depleted, which typically happens around the 2-hour mark.

BQ: Boston Marathon Qualifying Time

Carbo-loading: to maximize the storage of glycogen, endurance athletes consume a diet high in carbohydrates a few days prior to a longer race

Cool-Down: following a higher intensity workout it is recommended that you bring your heart rate back down to slightly above resting via jogging.

DNF: Did not finish

DNS: Did not start

Endorphins: the body’s natural pain killer typically released during bouts of exercise that are relatively strenuous to produce a feeling known as Runner’s High

Fartlek: A swedish word for Speed Play

IAAF: The International governing body for track and field otherwise known as the International Association of Athletics Federation

Intervals: A type of training performed at, or close to race pace with differing lengths of rest between sets, which are designed to enable you to run at race pace

IT Band: runners typically talk about the IT Band when referring to ITBS or Illiotibial Band Syndrome. The IT Band runs down the outside (lateral) of the thigh and can produce hip and knee pain (the insertions) if it gets too tight.

Kick: towards the end of a race when a runner sprints through the finish line, most commonly referred to as a finishing kick.

Killage: the number of kilometres one runs in a given day or week

Lactate Threshold: the point at which your body is producing lactate faster than it can remove it. A great predictor of endurance performance.

LSD: Long Slow Distance

Master: over 40 years of age

Negative Splits: to run the second half of your run faster than the first half

Pace: the average speed at which you cover a particular distance

Peak: the end of your season, typically the goal race that you have rested for after months of rigorous training

PB or PR: Person Best or Personal Record

Quarters: 400 meters which is approximately 1/4 of a mile

Rabbit: the pace setter for a race who runs in front of the field

Splits: times given or recorded at particular points throughout a race or workout (typically at mile or kilometre markers)

Taper: the rest, recovery, and sharpening segment of a training program that typically takes place 2-3 weeks out from a big race

Tempo: a training run performed at 75%-85% effort over a particular distance

Training Log: a place to record your daily runs, cross training, etc.

Ultra: any race longer than 26.2 miles

VO2 Max:Maximum oxygen intake


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