A mini guide to runners slang

One thing that I have learned in any industry or sport is that they have their own language and one has to become familiar with their jargon or slang.  Nobody wants to admit the first time they heard an industry term they were not familiar with left them feeling a bit dumbfound. You stand and smile awkwardly just to google it once they were safely out of screen shot, and then repeatedly use it so you can seem knowledgeable.

When I first started studying accounting there was a range of terms I needed to get to grips with not just to sound like I know what I am doing, but to be able to follow instruction and be able to understand what is required from me. Obviously all that comes in time and with experience and a lot reading of key terms in study guides, but when it comes to running there is not a manual to help you with this.

After a while, the wide eyed what are asking me look gets a bit stressful, so I have decided to help myself by learning a bit of jargon to help me during my novice period of trying to be a good runner.


Warm-up: You in the parking lot and you see the athletes take small sprints or brisk walks, leaving you with a thought of why are you doing this, you are running a marathon just now. Well friends they are actually warming up, getting their heart rates pumped up to avoid injury. In some cases parking is so far the brisk walk to the start can count as a warm up.

Static and dynamic stretching: Now you have warmed up and it’s time to get your stretch on. Static stretches is when you hold a muscle group in a sometimes uncomfortable position for a certain amount of time. Dynamic its counterpart is the stretch that uses more momentum and controlled movements that increase flexibility, lunges fall into this category.

Form: This is a word use to explain your technique or correct manner and posture to run. Do you keep your upper body tall, how your arms hang these are examples of correct form.

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Pace:  Something I have noticed a lot of runners define themselves via the pace they run, what this means is the amount of time it takes someone to clock 1 kilometre or mile. As you increase in fitness, form and experience this will improve.

Cadence: Unlike the time counterpart, a runner’s cadence is the amount of steps they have taken per minute while running. Normal everyday runners range between 160 – 170 steps minute. More efficient and faster athletes like elite runners will hit a cadence of 180 or higher per minute.


LSD: Law enforcement and hippies don’t get excited it’s not what you’re thinking. In the world of runners it stands for long slow distance or the weeks longest run.

Recovery Run: You have just run an ultra or even half marathon, what is the first thing you want to do after that distance? Most would answer rest but it’s recommended to go for a slow paced short run to help your body work through a fatigued state which in turn will actually help you with your next marathon.


Fartleks:  I giggled like a 10 year old internally for the first time I heard this term. Trust the Swedish to come up with an interesting term to explain “speed play”. They are easy runs broken up by quick sprinting bursts which is up to runner’s discretion on what they can cope with.

Speedwork: Remember earlier we were talking about pace, speed work is aimed at improving speed and endurance. These workouts can include hill repeats, intervals and tempo runs. Uncomfortable training to help strengthen and improve your runs.

Tempo runs: Runners challenge themselves to hold a comfortably hard pace for a 20min period during a run. These are usually done once a week.


Pronation: This actually handier to know in terms of the type of shoe you will need to use for your runs as they can help correct this. This refers to the way your foot strikes the ground while running you can either under over pronate. Most reputable sport shoe shops can test for this.

Taper: Runners taper before a big event to save their energy storage. So they definitely won’t be clocking in excessive kilometres this more of a calm before the storm period.

This is by no means a complete list but just some of the terms that left me a bit uncertain of their meaning. I would love to hear if there is any missed so we can make this an ultimate guide to runners slang.

Categories: Fitness, RunningTags: , ,

1 comment

  1. Pretty good explanation. I like fartleks’ from Beavis

    Liked by 1 person

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