The ABC’s of Training For a Half Marathon

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As a runner, there are certain terms that we all know or use.  People who don’t run might look at us funny when we use some of them, but it’s these words that unite us!

Most runners have heard of many, if not all, of these terms. Do you have another to add? Comment below!


Age group: Do you scope out who is in your age group for race awards and placements? Who cares about those younger or older, it’s those in your age group that are the real competition!

BQ: Also known as the Boston Qualifier times.  Last week was the prestigious Boston Marathon. That race brings the best of the best marathoners together. 

You must achieve a certain time based on age and gender to qualify to race! You can always run for charity too, but qualifying for the Boston is the ultimate running goal.

Chafing: Any runner has probably experienced chafing or wearing something that causes blisters or scars on your body.  Don’t forget to add body glide before long runs and especially don’t try anything new on race day. Chafing is one of the worst issues any runner can experience!

Double knot: The last thing you want to do is stop and tie your shoe mid run. Always double or even triple tie your shoes.

Easy runs: Your easy runs are just as important as workouts and hard runs.  Without easy runs, you won’t improve.

Fartlek: One of the funniest words in the runner’s dictionary.  It’s a Swedish word meaning “speed play.”  It is essentially a nonstructured speed workout.

GPS: GPS watches are a common sight on many runners and races.  You can purchase a GPS watch to do pretty much everything except the actual workout.  It’s important not to get too obsessed with your GPS data.  Remember, these watches are not perfect.

Half marathon: You didn’t think we would choose any other word for H right?  Half marathons are the fastest growing race distance event in the world.

Ice baths: Ice baths are becoming more common for runners after big races and events.  They help relieve sore muscles and so that you will recover faster!

Jogger: Do you get offended when people say you’re jogging versus running?  We are runners, not joggers!

Kick: Have you ever been outkicked at the end of a race?  A kick refers to the final meters before the finish.  Some runners are able to muster up an incredible speed in the last .1 and double their speed (believe me, I am not one of them).

Log: One of the most important things you can do is log and track your training.  You will be able to figure out what works the best for you and improve from there.

Miles or kiloMeters: Do you log your training in miles or kiloMeters?

New shoes: Is there anything better?  Probably not.

Nutrition: Just as important as laying down a 60-mile week.

Overtraining/Overuse: Sometimes we get overzealous with running and find ourselves with an overuse injury.  It’s important not to increase mileage too quickly and rest when needed. I’m definitely no stranger to that and have had my fair share of injuries as well.

Pace: Pace refers to have fast you are going.  If you want to pick up someone at a local race, just run up and say: your pace or mine?

Quality: As runners we often think; “more is better,” but that isn’t true.  Logging quality miles is more important than logging a high quantity.  If you feel overworked or overtrained, it’s better to rest and run miles that are useful for you!

Race: Sure you don’t have to race to enjoy running, but there are so many different options, events and truly something for everyone.  Do you like 5ks? Half marathons? What about races with pets or even naked (yes naked) 5ks.  There is truly a race for everyone.

Starting point: Every runner starts somewhere.  Whether you began running at age 10 or 100, we all began running somewhere.

Tangents: Running the tangents is one of the most important things you can do in a race.  You could easily add an extra half mile to a half marathon by not running the tangents and taking the shortest route possible. That is a common reason your GPS watch might log an extra half mile to a certified course.

Ultra marathon: It’s the distance when you feel like a half marathon, or even full marathon is not enough.  Ultra marathons range in distance from 50k to 100 milers or even more!

Visualize your goals: Do you want to PR?  Run your furthest?  Outkick your neighbor?  Whatever your goals, practice visualizing them.  We often forget that running is also mental and we must believe we will achieve our goals!

Wall: Have you ever felt fantastic during a race and suddenly, you don’t?  That is hitting the wall.  It can happen to any runner at any race.  Maybe you took out the race too quickly, or maybe you didn’t fuel well.  These are the races we learn the most from!

X-ray: This is definitely something no runner wants to utilize but sometimes we find ourselves in the doctors office needing an X-Ray to diagnose an injury.

You: Even though we get competitive with others, or enjoy running in groups, at the end of the day, running is for you.  Don’t worry about what others do and just do your own thing!

ZZZ: We all need our sleep, and it’s important to rest and recover.  Without sleep, you won’t be able to run your best.

What are some terms you would add to the list?

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 30 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

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