All You Need to Know About Running, From A to Z

© Martinmark |

© Martinmark |

Without a doubt, there are several running terms and lingo you might have heard. Runners have a unique and interesting dialect with many words and acronyms that baffle the “non-runner.”

So let’s take a look and see what some of the those running related words are!

A: Achilles (Tendinitis): Achilles Tendonitis is one of the most common running injuries out there. Keep your Achilles happy and wear proper footwear and don’t ramp up your mileage too quickly.

B: BQ: BQ or known as the acronym for Boston Qualifier. It is one of the hardest running goals to obtain. Depending on your gender and age, a runner must run a competitive time on a certified marathon course. Then they have the ability to race the Prestigious Boston Marathon.

C: Cool Down: It’s important to cool down after a hard effort whether it’s a workout or race. This helps to flush out the built-up acid in your legs and feet. Running more after finishing a hard effort takes a lot of willpower, but your legs will thank you.

D: DNS/DNF: These are two acronyms that no runner wants to hear. DNS means “Did Not Start” and DNF means “Did Not Finish”. It’s always important to listen to your body. No race is worth a permanent injury!

E: Eating: As a runner, it seems like we are always eating. Another term that you’ll often hear for how much runners eat is “rungry.”

F: Finish Line: Every runner wants to reach the finish line. Whether the finish line is an actual race, a fitness goal or an everyday goal. Reaching the finish line equals success!

G: GPS Watch: Many different types of GPS watches will measure your pace, distance and even track the route you run. The watch you should get depends on your needs and goals.

H: Half Marathons! This is HalfMarathons.Net, right? Half marathons are 13.1 miles and the perfect blend of speed, endurance, and fun. We might be biased, but we believe they are the best race distance!

I: Ice Bath: Ice baths are an excellent recovery method after a hard workout or race. Add as much ice as you need into a bathtub and slowly get in. Stay in for 10-15 minutes or as long as you can stand it.

J: Joggers: This is what non-runners know us runners as. We aren’t joggers; we are runners, and there is a difference! They are not synonyms!

K: Kick: There is always a runner who surges and powers to the finish line. Where did that energy come from? They blow by you as if you are standing still.

L: Lazy: So maybe it’s not a proper running term, but we all need that lazy and rest period after a hard race or end of a training cycle. This keeps you healthy and injury free! Having lazy or rest time after a hard race is important.

M: Marathon: The marathon is one of the most well-known running distances. Without a doubt, a non-runner will ask you “how many marathons have you run”?


N: Negative Split: This means running the second half of a race faster than the first half. It’s the elusive racing strategy. It’s a lot better to feel stronger at the end of the race!

O: Out and Back: Out and Back races have a hard 180 turn in the middle. They run out a certain mileage and then come back. It can be motivating to watch the fastest runners come whizzing past.

P: Pace: This is the speed you run. One of the most important methods and the way to stay injury free is run the appropriate pace for you. You don’t want to run the same pace for training runs and races.

Q: Quality: As runners, we often think “more is better”. More miles, more speed work, more runs…more everything! However, it’s important to log quality miles over quantity. You will see improvements faster and stay healthier and injury free.

R: Rest: Have you ever heard the term rest is best? Rest is one of the most important components of a training plan. Don’t be afraid to embrace rest (see: Lazy).

S: Speed Work: Speed work can be in the form of a track workout, tempo workout or an informal workout such as “sprinting to the end of the block”.

T: Track: Whether you are an elite runner, beginner or just love the track atmosphere, the track is a great option for speed work. Running shorter distances like the 200 or mile can have enormous benefits for longer distances such as the half marathon or marathon. You don’t have to be still in school to race on the track, and there are plenty of adult track races.

U: Ultra Running: Anything above a marathon (26.2 miles) is considered an ultra marathon. Many ultramarathons are run on trails or rugged terrain.

V: Victory: Victory is not necessarily winning a race, but victories come in all shapes and sizes. It can be crossing a finish line, getting healthy or reaching a new goal. Victories of any size make training and running with it!

W: Willpower: Sometimes running is more mental than physical. Often, it’s our own thoughts that keep us from succeeding in the sport. Your willpower can help you reach your goals!

X: XC: XC is the abbreviation for cross country. Even if you are well above the high school and college age (like most of us), cross country races are a great and fun alternative to a road race. Cross country races run through gravel, grass, mud and dirt. They could run up mountains or through a forest, you just never know!

Y: Yasso: Bart Yasso is considered the mayor of runners world. Ask any runner and they have probably heard of Bart Yasso. His legendary workout, “Yasso 800s”, have gotten many runners PR ready for their marathon.

Z: Zzzz: Sleep is one of the most important parts of running. When you are sleeping, your body is recovering. If you want to run well, you can’t slack off on your sleep.

Hollie Sick is a New Jersey-based runner and blogger who has completed nearly 30 half marathons. Learn more about Hollie at her blog, or follow her on Twitter.

1 comment… add one
  • JB September 14, 2016, 1:16 pm

    I decided to throw my own A-Z out there for how I survive my half marathons and training.
    A – Accelerade – Best recovery drink on the market, imo
    B – Bonking – Hitting a wall and running out of energy
    C – Compression – Helps recovery of leg muscles
    D – Dri-Fit – Or similar are perfect for wicking moisture on hot runs
    E – Epsom salt bath for achy feet
    F – Fast Finish – nothing feels better than finishing strong
    G – Gu – Essential electrolite and energy for during the run
    H – Hydration – Before, during, after, always be hydrating
    I – Injinji – 5 fingers socks for those with blister issues
    J – Junk miles – running just to run, usually running just to get lactic acid out of system, debatable how useful they are in training
    K – KT tape – expensive but effective if dealing with muscle issues
    L – Long run – slow and steady training up the miles
    M – Marathon – The thing non-runners ask you when you’re going to run one because you’re running “just a half”
    N – Nuun – Electrolite tabs for those forgoing Gu or energy drinks
    O – Only one more mile – Great thing to happen in any race
    P – Pronation – under or over or neutral is important to know about your foot falls
    Q – Quotes – Running sometimes need inspiration and finding a quote can help motivate you through a tough stretch
    R – Recovery Day – important after a long run and something to be taken seriously
    S – Snacking – Something that increases with training but is hard to stop during non-training…
    T – Turnaround – halfway point in any out and back run and a great feeling to be on the “downhill”
    U – Under Armour – makers of good running gear like hats and gloves and tights
    V – Vasoline – Anti-chafing, Body Glide is better but more expensive
    W – Water Stations – Oases along the route of any half marathon
    X – X-Ray – Hopefully avoidable but usually the first step in running injury diagnosis at doctor’s office
    Y – Yak Trax – if you want to run in the snow / ice
    Z – Zero-drop shoes – no drop between heel and toe to simulate a barefoot style and provide protection/cushion.

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