Category Archives: running abbreviations

General Running Info

Many of these are self explanatory. From Runner’s World.

AG: is Age Group.
AR: is American Record
AT: is Achilles Tendon.
BQ: is to Boston Qualify as in to meet the standards to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon.
C25K: is Couch to 5K, a common beginner’s running program.
CR: is course record
DFL: is Dead &$%&* Last
DLF: is Dead Last Finish
DNF: is Did Not Finish
DNS: is Did Not Start
DOMS: is delayed onset muscle soreness
ED: usually is used to refer to an eating disorder.
EIA: is exercise induced asthma
EPO: is short for the natural occurring hormone called erythropoietin. EPO can be used to enhance performance illegally and is associated with the dangerous process known as “blood doping.”
FF: is a fast finish (see “negative splits” below)
FIRST: Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (their website — thanks to John)
GA: is general aerobic
GPS: is global positioning system; see Garmin below.
HM: is half marathon
HR: is heart rate
HRmax, MHR or HRM: means the maximum heart rate that one can reach while running. Training intensities are often determined by percent of HRmax.
HRR (HRres): means Heart Rate Reserve, which is the difference between HRmax and RHR (HRmax – RHR = HRR). Some runners base training on percent of HRR instead of HRmax.
IOC: is International Olympic Committee
ITBS: refers to the illotibial band syndrome, a common overuse running knee injury.
KM: is a kilometer, also may be abbreviated simply as K.
LRS: is local running store.
LSD: is long slow (or steady) distance.
LVD: is long varied distance.
MP: is marathon pace.
MPM: is usually minutes per mile
MPW: Miles per week.
MHR: is maximum heart rate
MTSS: is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome; another name for the infamous “shin splints.”
NB: is New Balance, a shoe company.
NSAID: is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; ie Advil, Aleve, Motrin, etc.
PDR: is Philadelphia Distance Run
PF: is plantar fascitis
Pfitz: refers to runner/coach Pete Pfitzinger or his popular marathon plans. For example “Pfitz 70″ would refer to a Pfitz marathon plan that peaks at 70 miles per week.
PR and PB: is personal record or personal best. PB may also stand for peanut butter. :)
PT: is physical therapy.
PW: is personal worst.
Quads: the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh
RD: is Race Director
RHR: is resting heart rate
RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation
ROM: is range of motion
RT: Running Times.
RW: Runner’s World.
SFX: is stress fracture
TM: is treadmill
USATF: is USA Track and Field
WR: is world record
XC: is Cross Country
XT: is Cross training

General Running Terms:

10% Rule: is a general guideline that says don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than about 10% each week. An alternate rule is Coach Jack Daniels’ rule not to increase more than the number of workouts you do per week; i.e. if you run five times per week, then you can increase by five miles a week.

Aerobic: means simply that something requires oxygen. Aerobic exercise requires the heart and lungs to work harder to meet the body’s increased oxygen demand. Contrast with anaerobic.

Anaerobic: means simply without oxygen or not requiring oxygen. This is exercise performed at a high intensity and requiring a rate of energy production greater than that supplied by aerobic respiration.

Base: is how many miles you are running; for example if you run 30 miles per week, that is your base. This is somewhat simplified, but gives you the general idea.

Carbo Loading: basically this just means trying to maximize the storage of glycogen (a form of energy) in one’s muscles before a race.

Chronograph: is a fancy name for a runner’s watch. The stop watch mode where you time your runs is known as the Chronograph mode.

Cross country: is usually a fall sport at the high school and college levels; it is a running event in which runners must run a course consisting of varying terrain. In team events, the first five runners to cross the finish line score for their team. The team with the low score wins. 1 point is awarded to first, 2 points to second, 3 to third and so on. A perfect score in a Cross Country meet is 15 points.

Cross training: is another aerobic exercise such as swimming, cycling, cross country skiing used to complement running or when you are injured and can’t run.

Couch to 5k: is a beginners running plan.

Doubles: refers to doing two runs in the same day. Singles would be doing just one run. So if someone says “I did 50 miles this week, all singles” they are saying “I ran 50 miles this week, all as once-a-day runs.”

Elite: refers to those really super fast folks who usually don’t have to pay for shoes because they get them sponsored.

Fuel Belt: a type of belt you wear around your waist that has holders for bottles to carry fuel or fluids. Other types include Amphipod (a brand) and Camelbaks (which are like back packs that you carry water in).

Gallowalking: refers to walking at certain fixed intervals, such as one minute in ten, during long runs. The phrase is named for Jeff Galloway. Also called a run-walk.

Ghost Runner: is the guy (imagined or not as the case may be) that is on your heels about to pass you, used for motivation to keep up the pace. (thanks to Chuck for this one.)

Grade: refers to the steepness of a hill.

GU: is a type of energy gel. It’s a brand name, but it’s often used as a generic for gels generally (kind of like how xerox is used to refer to copying things in general). Gels are a semi-liquid sugary snack used for a quick energy burst. Sports beans are a jelly bean product related to GU. Cliff Blocks are another similar product. Hammer Gel is another product. Etc. You can find these at your local running store.

Hashers: or Hash House harriers are self proclaimed “drinkers with a running problem.”

Heart: is obviously an organ in your chest, but it also is often used in running to refer to your courage, drive, desire.

Ice Bath: is what it sounds like, taking a bath in ice to help prevent next day soreness.

Jog: is basically running at a slower pace, often to recover between intervals. Jogging is subjective rather than objective. One person’s jog can be another person’s run.

Junk miles: are runs at an easy pace done in order to reach a weekly or monthly mileage total rather than for any specific benefit. A lot of people say no miles are junk, though!

Laps: and Splits: are your times in a race or workout at several measured intervals. Laps would be this for example, a 36:00 minute 4-mile run might have mile splits of 9:00, 8:50, 9:10, 9:00. Splits technically refer to cumulative times, e.g. if you are running 8:00 min/miles, your split times will be 8:00 @ Mile 1, 16:00 at Mile 2 and so on. Negative splits: refers to running the second half of the race faster than the first. The opposite is a positive split where you run the first half faster. Even splits would be running essentially the same time for both halves of the race.

Master: is usually an athlete 40 years of age or older. There is a Masters Forum here at RW.

Out and back: means a course you run out a certain distance, then turn around and run back. A loop is simply that — you start in one spot and run in a big circle.

Personal Record: or Personal Best: means you ran your best time at the distance. Can be used as a verb “I PRed this weekend at the local 5K.”

Pheidippides: was this awesome Greek dude who ran the 24 miles or 39 kilometers from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC with news of a Greek victory over the Persians. After delivering the message, he collapsed and died. Marathons are named for his feat. (It’s a long story about why it’s 26.2 versus 24 …)

Road Kill: – You become road kill when during a race you are passed by a faster runner.

Runner: is a person who RUNS. Period. Every two weeks or so we have a thread about who supposedly qualifies as a runner. Simple answer: If you run, you’re a runner. Please stop asking what is the difference between a runner or a jogger. If you’re interested enough in the sport to come here, the chances are excellent that yes, you’re a runner no matter how slow or fast you are or whether you ever enter a race or not.

Runner’s High: is a feeling of happiness and euphoria following running. Seems to be caused by endorphins. Not everyone experiences it.

Snot Rocket: is a way to clear your sinuses when you’re running; as in “I launched a snot rocket.” Ask the board for technique suggestions. Also known as a farmer’s blow.

Sprints: are usually the races 400 meters and below in track and field. To sprint means to run as hard and as fast as you possibly can, usually for a relatively short distance.

Streak: means you run at least one mile continuously for such and such number of days, weeks, months, or years in a row.

Triathlon: combines swimming, biking, and running, usually in that order. There are various distances.

“Types” of Runs:
These are some different types of runs you will see referred to on the Runner’s World Forum board. All of these types of runs are done to accomplish different goals and objectives.

“_______ pace runs”: refer to running your predicted or expected race pace. So if a workout were to call for doing miles at “marathon pace,” that means running at your predicted marathon pace per mile. That could be anything from 5:00/mile for someone fast to 12:00 minutes a mile for someone slower. A 5K race plan may call for doing intervals (explained below) at your 1 mile race pace. A good way to figure out your expected paces is to use an online calculator. The McMillian Calculator is excellent. Running Times also has a calculator you can try.

A tempo run: is a run at around your 10K race pace (or about 80-85% of your heart rate or so). Traditionally tempo runs were 20 minutes or so in length, but they vary. It’s often described as being “comfortably hard” — it’s a challenging, but managable pace. You want to finish a tempo feeling challenged, but not exhausted. Most tempo runs consist of ten to fifteen minutes of easy running, then the tempo part, then ten to fifteen minutes to cool down. Tempo runs build speed and teach your body to run at a certain pace.

Related to tempo runs are cruise intervals. Like tempo runs, these runs are designed to help you learn to deal with the accumulation of lactate; they are sometimes called lactate threshold runs. Don’t worry too much about what that means right now. Cruise intervals are usually 3 to 15 minutes in length, with 1 minute or so of recovery for each five minutes of run time.

A fartlek: is a fun word that you can say and make non-runners snicker. It simply is an informal way of doing speed work. It’s a Swedish word meaning “speed play.” In a fartlek, you would run hard to say the next telephone pole, then slow down, then run hard again to the next object. It’s just basically bursts of speed in the middle of a workout. It can be easy or hard. There’s no set distance or speed, it’s very loose and informal. Fartleks are good for a beginning runner who wants to dabble in speedwork.

Intervals: (sometimes called “repeats“) usually refer to track work, though you can do them elsewhere. Usually intervals consist of a set distance (say 400 meters, 800 meters, a mile) that you run at a set, usually fast pace. Between the intervals, you would recover by either jogging slowly or walking. People often do them on the track because the track is obviously measured. An example of an interval workout might be 4×800. This means you are going to run four sets of 800 meters (or about a half mile) at a certain pace. Between those faster runs, you will walk or jog to recover. Often an interval workout will give you the pace you’re supposed to run and the time you should take to rest. Usually rest time is roughly equivalent to how much time it takes you to run the distance. So in our 4×800 example, if you were doing the 800s in 4:00 minutes (8:00 mpm pace), you would take about 4:00 rest. Intervals build your pace and speed.

Some types of intervals … Repetitions which are a form of intervals that are faster and shorter than VO2max intervals with full recovery betwen them (usually 4-6 times as long as the repetition). These are used for improvement of anaerobic capacity, running form and running economy. Ladder which means an interval workout of increasing interval lengths, such as 200-400-600-800 meters. A Cutdown which is the opposite of a ladder or an interval workout of decreasing interval lengths, such as 800-600-400-200 meters. Pyramid: is a combination of a ladder and a cutdown, such as 200-400-600-800-600-400-200 meters. (thanks to Jim2 for defining several terms in this section.)

Just a brief word about the track …. If you visit the track to do a workout, know that most tracks are 400 meters in length. (There are some quarter mile tracks, but most are 400 meters.) A mile is roughly equivalent to 4 laps around the track. A mile is actually a little longer than 1600 meters. If you want to do a true timed mile, find the common finish line. (It’s usually located at near the end of the straightaway in front of the home stands. Usually has numbers painted there.) Go back 9 meters and there should be a line; that’s where the mile would begin.

Long Runs: are typically 25-30% of your weekly mileage or so and are usually done once a week. These are usually done at a comfortable, fairly easy pace. We often refer to them here as LSD — long, slow distance. An appropriate long run distance is determined by your goals. A long run might be anywhere from 5 miles to 25 or more (for an ultramarathoner).

The easy run: or a recovery run is simply a run at an easy pace done for recovery purposes or just simply enjoyment. Most of a beginners runs should be easy runs.

Jogs: usually refer to slow running done to recover between intervals. Runners and (especially) non-runners will sometimes use the term “jog” for a slow run for exercise. Runners tend to prefer to refer to what they do as running; but usually know that if a non-runner refers to you as a jogger, they probably don’t mean any harm.

You will also hear about hill repeats: — these typically are runs up a hill to build strength. I personally hate hill repeats, so I prefer to run hilly courses instead.

Strides: are short, controlled bursts of running of 50 to 150 meters designed to improve efficiency, work on form, etc. Often done at the end of a run.

Warm Up: is a period of slower running prior to faster running. Cool down: is slower running at the end of faster running. This is also sometimes called a warmdown.