Your guide to Run Speak

Oct 29, 2019

Here are a few terms and definitions to help the new runner understand and get involved in the run speak around them.

Runners chatting

ASA / Athletic South Africa – The governing body for the sport of athletics in South Africa.

ASA license – All running events or races over 5km long in South Africa require participants to wear a running licence.  This can be a temporary licence bought on the day of the race, or a permanent licence number which is allocated to a runner for a year. Any race of 42,2km or longer, requires the runner to be in possession of a permanent number.

BiomechanicsThis is essentially your running form. The way muscles, bones, and joints work together as you run/walk.

Bonk – Also called “hitting the wall”. Suddenly running out of all energy in a race and feeling like you have nothing left.

Bus – A bus is a group of runners who aim to finish a race in a specific time. The bus is generally lead by one runner who will be carrying a flag that indicates the intended finish time of the group. Any runner is welcome to join or leave the bus during a race.

Cadence – The number of steps taken per minute while running.

Chafing – When one body part rubs against another or against a piece of clothing which causes a painful irritation, rash or even bleeding.

Chicked – When a male runner is passed on a race by a female runner.

Chub rub – Thigh chafing.

Comrades Marathon – An ultramarathon of approximately 89 km which is run annually between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.  It is the world’s biggest ultramarathon event.

Conversational pace – A run where the effort is relaxed enough that you are able to easily have a conversation while running.

Cross training – Sports or exercises other than running. Generally incorporated into a runner’s fitness regime to improve conditioning and reduce the risk of injury.

DNF – Stands for “did not finish”. This will appear on many race results for an individual who does not complete the race.

DNS – Stands for “did not finish”. This will appear on many race results for an individual who enters a race but does not start.

Electrolytes – Minerals which are important to muscle function which are lost through sweat. These include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphate.

Elevation gain – The total amount you have climbed during a run, usually measured in metres.

Elevation loss – The total amount you have descended during a run, usually measured in metres.

Elite runners – The top runners found at the front of the race. Some are professionals and others are simply fast.

Fartlek – Means “speed play” in Swedish. Quick bursts of sprinting incorporated into an easy run.

Gait analysis – An assessment of the way in which you walk/run to pick up any abnormalities in your biomechanics.

GPS watch – A sports watch that can access GPS satellites to measure numerous features of your run, including distance, pace, splits, etc.

Green number – This is awarded to a runner who has completed ten Comrades Marathons. Also called a permanent number. This means that their race number will never be used by another runner in the race.

Half marathon – A race of 21.1km in distance.

Heel drop – the difference in height between the heel of a running shoe and the forefoot of a running shoe, measured in millimeters.

HIIT – High intensity interval training.

Hill repeats – Where a runner runs up a hill at a fast pace and then jogs down at an easy pace. This is said to improve strength and speed.

Intervals – Short bursts of fast running, each of a predetermined distance, with walking or slow recovery jogs in between.

ITB / Iliotibial band syndrome – Also known as runner’s knee. A common running injury that often results in pain around the knee. Read a detailed explanation here 

LSD – Long slow distance. This is a run that is performed at a slower and easier pace that your anticipated race pace.

Marathon – A race of 42.2km in distance.

Marshall – The volunteers on the road during a race who guide runners on the route to follow and assist in managing the flow of traffic.

Negative splits – When you run the second half of the race faster than the first half.

Novice runner – A beginner.  A runner can also be a novice the first time they compete in a race of a specific distance.

Over pronation – When a runner rolls their foot inward excessively when landing during running. See pronation.

Out-and-back – A running route where you go out on the run and then turn around and return via the same route.

Pace – the speed at which you run, usually measured in minutes per kilometre.

PB (Personal best) – This is an individual’s fastest time for a particular distance.

Podiatrist – A medical professional who provides diagnosis and treatment for foot, ankle and lower limb problems.

Point to point – When a race or run starts and finishes at a different location.

Pronation – when your foot makes contact with the ground during running or walking, the arch of your foot naturally rolls inward to some degree to absorb the impact. This is called pronation.

Racing snake – A very fast runner.

Recovery run – an easy run for the purpose of recovering from a hard workout. This should be run at an easy conversational pace.

RICE – Popular advice for many running injuries. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevate.

Runcation – When you choose a holiday destination around a race you want to run.

Runfie – A photo you take of yourself before, during or after a run to share your runner’s high or show off how bad-ass you are.

Runger – An overwhelming feeling or weakness and/or rage a runner experiences regularly when training for an endurance event.

Runner’s high – A feeling of euphoria and reduced anxiety that is often experienced by runners after a run.

Runner’s trots – Also referred to as “Code Brown”. An emergency bathroom break that some runners experience during or after a long distance run. Read more here

Running clubs – Clubs for groups of people who share a common interest in running. A membership fee is generally required to be a member of the club and they offer numerous benefits to the members, including planned training runs and camaraderie.

Shin splints – A chronic overuse area that results in pain in the shin area. Click here for detailed information. Read a detailed explanation here

Single track – A narrow trail found on a trail run that is only wide enough for a single runner to run along.

Snot rocket – When you close one nostril and blow through the other. We beg of you, please move to the side of the road before doing this!

Splits – The time it takes you to run a specific distance. If you are running a race, your splits are generally measured in kilometres but could also be grouped into other equal distances, such as 5km. If you are running intervals, your splits would be the distance that it takes to complete each interval.

Sports psychologist – A psychologist with a focus on how individuals are affected by playing sports. They aim to help sportspeople to overcome the mental issues that are stopping them from reaching their potential.

Strava – A social media mobile app and website used by runners and cyclists. Members connect to other members and load up their runs/cycle from their GPS devices. They are also able to compare their performance to others on the same course.

Supination – When a runner places more weight on the outside of the foot while running. Also known as underpronation.

Taper – The period where a runner gradually decreases their training volume as they near race day.

Tempo run – A run done in training that is faster than your average pace. The measure is usually around your 10k pace and the aim is to build your speed and running efficiency.

Timing chip – An electronic chip that is attached to your shoe to time your run on a race by picking up a signal when you cross a series of mats on the course.

Trail run – A run that takes place on an unpaved surface out in nature.

Two Oceans Marathon – A 56km ultramarathon and 21,1km half marathon held annually in Cape Town on the Saturday of the Easter weekend.

Ultra marathon – A long distance running race that is longer in distance than a marathon.

Yasso 800’s – A running workout created by a man name Bart Yasso which is theorised can be used to predict your marathon time. An individual takes their marathon goal time in hours and minutes and converts this to minutes and second. (E.g. a marathon goal of 3 hours and 20 minutes would convert to 3 minutes and 20 seconds). They then aim to run 10 x 800m in this time with a recovery jog of the same time between each.

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