Talk the talk: A guide to running lingo

Some friends and I recently went away on a running weekend.

Unfortunately, for one of our group it was his first time away on such a weekend, and at the end of it he decided he needed a dictionary to understand what we were all saying.

So, for his benefit, and others who may wonder what the hell I'm talking about (apologies to readers if you've ever been left scratching your head), here's a quick list of some commonly used running terms.

Fartlek: This translates to "speed play" in Swedish. Essentially, it's where the runner uses a mixture of speeds to test both anaerobic and aerobic fitness. I've used this where I've warmed up, run for five minutes at an easy pace, sprinted for a little bit and then slowed down to a slightly faster run than my easy pace and then repeated it all over again and again. If you want it to be truly terrible, combine it with hill repeats (see below).

Chafing: AKA chub rub - where skin has been rubbed raw either on an item of clothing or itself. OUCH. Avoid it. Use Vaseline or some kind of sports lubricant.

PB: Personal best.

DNF: Did not finish. Not something you ever want to see on a race result.

Carbo-loading: Eat, eat, eat. My favourite part of the pre-race ritual. Loading up on carbohydrate-rich food to fuel my body. 

Cadence: The number of steps taken per minute.

Hill repeats: When you run up the hill, then back down, and repeat it over and over. AKA hell. 

Taper: When you cut down the number of kilometres you're running in the lead up to a run. 

Foam roller: If this isn't your best friend, then you should make it become one. This piece of equipment is exactly as it sounds - a round piece of foam that you roll on. It eases out muscles, helps you stretch and is key for preventing injuries. 

Splits: A race is divided into smaller parts known as splits. A negative split is when the second half of the race is run faster than the first half i.e. 5:30 kms for the second half, compared to 6m/kms for the first. 

Runner's high: The rush of endorphins after a race that makes you tell your friends you'd be happy do it again next year. 

BPM: How many beats per minute your heart is doing.

What are some of the running terms you commonly use? Comment below, email me on or follow me on Twitter @YoungRachelS 

P.S. Good luck to everyone running the Christchurch Marathon this weekend! I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

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