Common Running Terminology | Advice Centre | Flawless Physio
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Common Running Terminology

Are your relatively new to running or have you just joined a running club for the first time? Are you nodding and smiling along to lots of new lingo so that you don’t appear to be out of place?

It’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Here are a list of the most common running phrases you’re likely to hear from your local running guru

Aid Station

Aid station or water stop is any point along your run or a race that offers water. In paid entry races these stations tend to cover an array of things from sports drinks or gels to energy bars.

Altitude training

This is most commonly seen in elite level racing but don’t be surprised if there are some diehard runners at your club who try this. It is essentially training either at altitude or in an oxygen deprived chamber. It can cause an increase in red blood cells, these transport oxygen around your body. The more red blood cells that you have can lead to provide increased endurance.

Arm Sleeves

Arm sleeves or arm warmers are a layer of clothing just for your arms – yes that’s right! Most commonly worn with a t-shirt but its not uncommon for people to wear them under other clothing as an extra layer.


Someone who has entered a race without paying the entry fee

Black Toenails:

Incorrect shoe sizing, poor running technique or lots of downhill running can lead to trauma of your nails, leading them to go black. Don’t worry, they should grow back.

Bloody Nipples

Cold weather, nylon and nipples are not a good combination. The friction between your t-shirt and nipple when running can lead to bleeding. If you experience this, specialist plaster are a good option.

Buggy Running

Ever more popular – specialist running prams allow parents to run with their baby.

Carb Loading

This is typically excessive eating of carbohydrates such as pasta or potatoes. This is most commonly seen before long distance races as they are a great source of energy.


Friction between clothing on skin or skin on skin which can lead to blistering and/or bleeding

Compression Socks

A compression garment worn around your calves which aim to reduce lactic acid levels and aid recovery.

Cool Down

A period of time at the end of your run where your gradually reduce the intensity of your running to a walk which may be followed by stretching.

Cross Training

This is other exercise that you may do outside of running which complements your running. Most common forms are swimming, cycling, yoga and pilates.


Did not finish a race


Did not start a race despite entering


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness are muscular aches that can last up to 72 hours post exercise. Usually experienced after a sudden increase of muscle use i.e. doing a long run and not running for months.

Fartlek Training

This is a form of training using variations of fast and slow running but in no set order – it can be a fun way to mix up your training


Good for Age timing – relative to someone’s age, they have run a very competitive time in an event.


This is a device which can be found in most sports watches that tracks your distance to a relatively high degree of accuracy.

Half Marathon

As the name suggests this is half the distance of a marathon also known as 13.1 miles or 21 kilometres

Heart rate

This is how many times your heart beats in a minute. Runners may run to a certain heart rate threshold to enhance the effect of their training.

Hill repeats

Sprint up a hill then slowly jog back down as a recovery. This is an excellent way to build stamina.

Hitting the wall

Effectively when you have run out of energy. Your legs will feel like a weird combination of heavy like lead but as weak as bambi.

Ice Bath

A freezing icey bath which is most commonly used as a recovery technique

Interval training

Speed sessions with altered times of high and slow speed running


A race 26.2 miles in length

Negative Split

Running the second have of a race faster than the first half


Pushing your body past its threshold which typically leads in a decrease in performance level and an increased risk of injury


How fast you are running. This is typically measure per minute.

Park Run

This is a run that takes place all over the UK usually in your local park at 9am every Saturday morning. It’s free and a great social run


Personal record – the fastest time you have run over a certain distance.


Walking or running at a slower pace between segments which allows your heart rate to decrease and regaining energy so you can run at a quicker speed again.


The time it takes to complete a certain distance i.e. running 800metres around a 400 metre track. Your split is the time you ran your first 400m vs your second

Stride length

The distance between your feet as one foot leaves the ground and the opposite hits the ground

Stride rate

How many times your feet hit the ground in a minute


Towards the end of most training plans a taper is carried out which involves a reduction in distance and intensity of runs to allow for fresh legs on race day

Tempo run

A sustained faster than normal run typically over shorter distances of 3-6 miles.

Trail running

Running off road, this is more commonly done in the winter.

Vo2 Max

A measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can consume per minute while exercising


Usually before you begin your run it entails slowly increasing the pace your are moving from a fast walk to a jog and then a run.


Useful Related Articles:

3 common mistakes when marathon training

3 running technique tips to help reduce injury risk

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