From A to Z, here are 26 running terms you should drop in your next conversation.
A is for Achilles1 of 27
A tendon in the lower leg that can be a real Achilles heel for a runner. (See what we did there?)
B is for Bonk2 of 27
Running out of fuel mid-run, or hitting the wall. Usually happens when a runner is close enough to the finish line to get a taste of victory, only to have it cruelly ripped away.
C is for Cool Down3 of 27
A crucial post-run activity that runners rarely actually do properly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
D is for DNF4 of 27
As in, "Did Not Finish." This three-letter acronym is worse than any four-letter word.
E is for Elite5 of 27
A person who is paid to run. In other words, every runner's dream job.
F is for Fartlek6 of 27
A speed workout of Swedish origin that makes every non-runner chuckle.
G is for Gazelle7 of 27
The animal every runner dreams of mimicking during a run. Outward appearances rarely live up to those expectations.
H is for Half Marathon8 of 27
A race distance that covers 13.1 miles. A favorite distance for many runners, mainly because it's not a full marathon.
I is for Ice Bath9 of 27
An especially uncomfortable recovery method with which most marathoners in training develop a real love-hate relationship.
J is for Jogging10 of 27
An alternative term for running that most serious runners despise.
K is for Kick11 of 27
The action runners commonly execute in the final stretch of a race, usually to beat a runner they have been neck-in-neck with throughout the entire race.
L is for Lactic Acid12 of 27
The substance that builds up in post-exercise muscles and makes sitting, standing and walking (wait, what does that leave?) particularly difficult for runners.
M is for Mile13 of 27
The most common method that U.S. runners use to measure their workouts. Used in a sentence: "I've run only one mile??"
N is for Negative Split14 of 27
A kickass accomplishment that means running the second half of a race faster than the first. Can be elusive due to the dreaded "Starting Too Fast" syndrome.
O is for Out-And-Back15 of 27
A type of race course that takes runners to a certain point, then has them turn around and use the exact same boring route to return to the finish. Because it's so fun to see the same things twice.
P is for Pace16 of 27
Pace is the speed at which a person runs; usually expressed in minutes per mile. Also used as a runner's cheesy pick-up line; as in, "Your pace or mine?"
Q is for Qualifier17 of 27
Commonly used with the word Boston, which refers to one of the most esteemed marathons in the world. But just because a race is a "Boston Qualifier," doesn't mean it's easy to do—unfortunately.
R is for Runchies18 of 27
Finishing a long run and eating everything in sight, including the food you have planned for breakfast, lunch and dinner—the following day.
S is for Starting Line19 of 27
The most nerve-wracking location in a runner's life, where thoughts race, muscles tighten and bathroom urges are felt multiple times.
T is for Tempo20 of 27
A kind of run that is done at a faster than normal pace. A dreaded workout on every runner's training plan.
U is for Ultrarunning21 of 27
Traditionally used when referring to race distances longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). In other words, why?
V is for VO2 Max22 of 27
A ridiculously scientific measurement that is used to track the rate at which a runner's body can use oxygen. Requires a Ph.D. to understand.
W is for Wall23 of 27
As in "Hitting the Wall." Running out of steam during a run. Also known as bonking, crashing and burning, sucking wind, failing at your nutritional plan.
X is for XTERRA24 of 27
A trail running race series with event locations across the world. Also offers an off-road triathlon series for those who are bored with running.
Y is for Yasso25 of 27
Bart Yasso is a running Jedi. The Chief Running Officer (yes, there is such a thing) at Runner's World and creator of a runner's workout called Yasso 800s.
Z is for ZZZ's26 of 27
Sleeping is one of the most important recovery tools in a runner's training plan. Unfortunately, a good night's sleep seems to be nearly impossible the night before an important race.