Runners vocabulary – explained. | HumorOutcasts

Runners vocabulary – explained.

January 19, 2018

There are many terms that are regularly used by members of the running community but that may be baffling to non runners.

So, someday when you happen to be talking to a runner, here’s a brief explanation to help clarify so you won’t seem like a complete ignoramus:

PACE: The number of minutes to run a mile. For instance, a 6 min/mile pace is really good as opposed to a 12 min/mile pace for an old timer like me. But, never ask a runner how “fast” he or she is running. Fast is a relative term. Compared to a gazelle, we all run slowly or compared to Usain Bolt we all run slowly. Instead, ask what is your pace, it’s much more polite if you really want to be polite. Of course, that doesn’t mean the answer you get will be an absolute. After all, they don’t want to be embarrassed. Maybe you’ll be told the pace they ran in high school or at one of their best races 10 years ago, so be specific and ask them what their pace was at their last race or the last time they ran. Or, just be a nice guy and say “good job”.

PB: No not Peanut Butter! Although, you may want to make a PB with J sandwich when you are done. PB is a Personal Best in a race. Also known as a PR – Personal Record. You would have had your best PACE in order to set this new PB. So, if you like PB&J sandwiches then trying to set a PB may be great motivation.

FARTLEK: No, this is not what you think, tsk, tsk. Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning “speed play”. “Unstructured running perhaps on forested trails or in fields”. Of course, depending on your pre-run meal you might fartlek a dog after it ate some road kill.

DNF: OK, no guessing, I know how you guys think. It stands for Did Not Finish. Perhaps the runner got sick, was injured or ran out of energy. Of course guys, the same excuses could happen at home.

NEGATIVE SPLITS: No, this is not a stretching exercise gone awry. This is not as bad as it sounds. In fact it’s good. It means that you ran the second half of the race faster than the first half. So if someone says they ran negative splits there is no need to console them for hurting themselves, instead congratulate them.

BIB: No, this is not the same bib you wore when you were a baby in a high chair. This one has a number on it and is pinned to your shirt and is your official registration. Of course, you might need it if you ate a bowl of chilli 30 minutes before the race!

BANDIT: Again, not what you think. What would a bandit get from a runner anyway? They never carry any money. Nope, it’s a person who is running in a race without registering or paying (i.e. unofficial). Highly discouraged.

LSD: Nope, not what you think. Long, Slow, Distance runs are runs as part of a training plan usually in preparation for a distance run like a marathon run or longer.

RICE: Nope, wrong again. This stand for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, all remedies recommended for injuries.

THE WALL: This does not refer to Donald Trump and Mexico. This is the time in a long race that occurs when you just flat run out of energy and feel you can’t go on. You really do feel like you just ran into a wall.

Well, now you know the lingo you can talk to a runner just as if you know what you’re talking about. Of course, the downside is, someone may actually ask you to go for a run with them!

Roger Hollis

Air Force veteran, veteran of 30+ years in the corporate world. Published in Medical Devices magazine. Illustrator for recently published "1000 Ways in 1000 Days" available on Amazon. Long time runner. Author of "Running Log" due out in November.

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