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13 Common Running Terms

We’ve talked about the importance of running in our previous blog. Now that we’ve got you all convinced to get up and run, now we have compiled running terms to be familiar with. Here they are:

  1. Aid station: More commonly termed as water stop. Any point along the course that gives water or sports drinks, handed out by volunteers. Most likely at bigger races, people also hand out gels, energy bars, and other items.
  2. Body Mass Index: A calculation of body fat that can be used to diagnose whether or not your weight is healthy. BMI is derived by contrasting your height from your weight.
  3. Chip: A small plastic piece connected to a runner’s shoelace that’s used to track a runner’s progress and record times during a race. Timing chips are activated once you step over the electronic mat at the start and finish of a race, and at various points in between.
  4. Endorphins: Brain chemicals long credited with producing a “runner’s high,” the sense of delight that runners experience. More recent research characterize this to endocannabinoids, molecules created by the body that are said to reduce pain and anxiety and promote well-being.
  5. Heart rate: Calculates how many times your heart beats in a minute. Training by heart rate is responsible for many variables that affect how you feel from day to day. It makes it a better way to monitor how hard you’re working than an arbitrary measure such as your pace.
  6. Long slow distance runs: Any run that’s longer than a weekly run, which is the foundation of marathon and half-marathon training. These workouts help build endurance and psychological toughness that can help you get through race day.
  7. Marathon: A race that’s 42.195 km long. Many runners are expected to be proud of having run a marathon, some of the greatest runners in history have never done one, so don’t feel like you have to do a marathon to call yourself a runner. Most experts agree that you should have a year of regular running under your belt before you start training for your first marathon.
  8. Pace: How fast you’re running, usually expressed in terms of minutes per km. Your running pace at a given effort level will vary greatly from day to day, depending on the weather, your fatigue level, and numerous other factors. While it’s good to have a general idea of how fast you’re running, it’s best not to base your running around hitting certain paces all the time. Doing so usually leads to working too hard, and can drain much of the enjoyment from your running. As you gain fitness, you’ll naturally speed up.
  9. Quality workouts: Any workouts that are faster or longer than daily runs. Within the context of marathon and half-marathon training, the term usually refers to workouts such as long runs, speed sessions, and tempo runs, which all require a day or two of recovery.
  10. RICE: Refers to Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These techniques can relieve pain, reduce swelling, and protect damaged tissues, all of which speed healing. They’re most effective when done immediately following an injury. RICE is the standard prescription for many aches and pains, such as strained hamstrings and twisted ankles.
  11. Speedwork: More commonly called intervals or repeats, speedwork means any workout run at a faster-than-normal pace. Often done at a track. Performed to increase cardiovascular fitness.
  12. Technical clothing: This typically refers to clothing made of synthetic fibers that wick moisture away from the skin. These fibers do not absorb moisture like cotton does, and they help prevent uncomfortable chafing.
  13. Warm-up: A period of walking or easy running or any light activity that is done for 10 to 20 minutes before a workout. It gradually increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles. It is basically a preparation of the body for more heavy work.

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