Beginners Running Terms

Pickup any running magazine or read an article online, and as a beginner, you may feel a little bamboozled about the terms used. Gathering some of these together, here is my beginners guide to running terminology.

Aerobic – Exercise where the intensity is such that your heart and lungs can deliver sufficient oxygen to your muscles across the entire workout.

Anaerobic – Exercise where oxygen cannot be delivered in sufficient amounts. Causes buildup of lactic acid and overall heavy feeling muscles. This sort of exercise cannot usually be sustained.

Chip Time – The time to run a race as measured by an electronic chip. This measures line-line, as opposed to “gun time” which, unless you start on the starting line, will always be longer.

Cooldown – A less intense period of exercise at the end of a run. This brings your heart rate down to normal and helps rid the body of lactic acid. Should always be followed by post-run stretches to prevent soreness.

Cross-Training – Other exercises than running which increase your performance. Things like swimming, cycling or yoga which build muscles elsewhere for a more balanced “you”.

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Aches and pains in muscles usually a day or two after exercise. Caused by micro tears in the muscle which are rebuilding.

DNF/DNS – Did Not Finish / Did Not Start

Fartlek – A form of intervals, Swedish for “Speed Play”. A creative way of combining slow and fast intervals to increase endurance.

Footstrike – How your foot hits the floor when running, heel toe or ball of toe first.

Hitting The Wall – The moment when your glycogen stores run out and as a runner you feel unable to continue.

Interval Training – Breaking workout into short periods of different pace. Helps by exercising your “fast twitch” muscles for sprinting while also improving your endurance. Also burns more calories.

PR/PB – Personal Record / Personal Best

Splits – How long it takes you to run a certain distance, eg a mile. Splits are good for measuring performance against comparable phases of a race, eg the first mile, or comparing the first and last mile in one race.

Tempo Run – Like interval training, but the periods are extended in order to improve endurance.

Warmup – The phase before exercising which gradually warms up, stretches and conditions your muscles while increasing your heart rate.

There are many more terms which you will come across. Please do add to the comments if you think there is something vital which I have missed, and I will happily add it!

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