A large part of the terms presented on this page
were taken from the 1997 Royal Renegade Runners Revised
Reference Guide compiled by Laura Kulsik, Past RRCA
Western Regional Director. (Thank you Laura!) Some
of the terms used are, to the best of our knowledge,
unique to the Tahoe Mountain Milers Running Club.
These terms are identified by the (TMMRC) at the end
of the definition. Please feel free to use them at
will if they fit your need.
I think it's easiest to understand and appreciate
the need for such a list of running terms by quoting
"This reference guide has been prepared especially
for those new to the sport of running. It contains
words, phrases, and acronyms likely to be met In the
everyday life of a runner whether reading or conversing.
This guide includes a number of slang, informal, obscure,
medical, and technical words. Every effort has been
made to make sure that the proper definition for each
While I do not profess to be a lexicographer, I feel
that publication of this reference guide is long overdue.
I can remember when I first heard the term "negative
split," It was a year before I figured out what It
meant, and still another year before I was even able
to run one."
(Before reading on, please place the tip of your
tongue firmly against the inside of your left check!)
- Achilles Tendinitis: the Greek God of running injuries.
- Aerobic: when your pen becomes airborne.
- Antioxidants: those who rally against oxygen intake.
- Bandit: cheapskate, "Can you believe he ran that race
without paying the registration fee?!!"
- Base training: working out on the grounds of a military
base; you should do most of your steady aerobic running
here before you do speed or hill workouts.
- Blade Runner: a runner who is as skinny as a blade of
- Bonk: 1, when one is lacking in fuel and feels weak
is cause of this during a run. "You don't want to bonk
during the race. Eat something!" 2. Where British citizens
keep their money. 3. British term with the same meaning
as "shag". (You may want to think twice before talking
to a Brit. about your last bonk,)
- Bunions: The mother and father of Paul.
- Capilene: the way a runner's cap or hat naturally leans
or tilts while running. "Your capliene is stylin."
- Carbo load: a garbage truck full of bread and 6" pasta.
- Carbo gauge: not to be confused with carbo load.
- Cherry picker: a runner who hates to lose.
- Clydesdale: a special racing division for really big
horses; not to be confused with the Shetland division
for the really little ones, CR. Course record, 2. Crappy
- Cross training: training when you are very upset.
- Didathoner: those who run marathons and ultra marathons
for quantity not quality. A didathoner will tell you they
did London, Boston, Big Sur and Avenue of the Giants,
all within a three-week period. They may have finished
each one in 10 hours but hey, they "did it."
- DNF: did not finish. There are many reasons to "DNF"
but not completing a race because someone you don't want
to be ahead of you, is in fact, ahead of you is not one
- DNS: did not start. Popular low key event: DNS. DNF.
DNC. (Did not start. Did not finish. Did not care) 5K.
- Double: completing two workouts in one day; doing a
two mile warm up jog followed by a six mile tempo run
doesn't count. 2. What you drink after you DNF.
- Endorphins: friendly little parasites that you usually
feel in the middle of a good run. 34"'The endorphins are
- Expos: outlet shopping malls for runners.
- Fartlek, (1): speed work after a meal of refried beans.
- Fartlek, (2): When a runner increases his or her pace
sufficiently enough to put adequate distance between themselves
and the rest of the group so they can take a quick pottie
break before the group catches up. "There goes Jim on
another Fartlek!" (TMMRC)
- Food and Drug Administration: pre-race ritual Involving
carbohydrates, plenty of fluids, and plenty of anti-Inflammatories.
- Free Balling: happens when the liner of a male's running
shorts looses their elasticity; things hang loose.
- Gel: something in your running shoe or your hair; both
of which are supposed to make you run faster.
- Glycogen stores: stores where you can get a limited
supply of fuel before you have to visit the fat stores.
- Good Job: thinly veiled words of encouragement during
a race or serious workout that really mean,"What the heck
are you doing ahead of me?"
- "Gotta Love Those Hills!": For runners believing that
"hill work" is "speed work" in disguise, this is the "War
Hoop" that mentally convinces us that running up hills
hurts less than running at top speed around a track. (Also
see Dementia) (TMMRC)
- Hamstring: the leash you hook to your pet pig's collar.
- Harcormorner: hard core morning runner.
- Hash: an event hosted by any local chapter of the International
Hash House Harriers, a drinking club with a running problem.
- Heart rate monitor: an annoying piece of equipment that
constantly beeps, usually worn by someone who is hearing-impaired
or etiquette-impaired and running the same pace as you
in a race.
- Illotiblal band: a musical group made up of runners,
popular with Beatniks in the U.S. and U.S.. The band disbanded
due to bad knees from constant bending while playing the
- Injury: worse than the bubonic plague; when In need
of sympathy or a little attention, tell your running friends
you have an injury (use words like "ripped ilio-tibular
ligament'. "Lacerated plantar', and "torn metatarsal')
then go out for a run. You will earn instant respect and
admiration for running through your Injury.
- Logging: 1. what your nonrunning friends and coworkers
say they saw you doing when you were out running the other
day. 2. Only done by a runner to their memory
- Kenyan of the Week: term used to describe any one of
a huge and growing number of very talented runners from
this African nation who win American road races.
- LSD: let's slow down.
- Marathoner: a person who derives great personal satisfaction
from an experience very similar to breathing into a plastic
bag for about forty minutes.
- Masters: special division in races for those with advance
degrees. MPH miles per hour.
- MPD: miles per day.
- Negative split: 1. Running the second half of one's
race faster than the first half; common among elite runners.
2. A banana split without the whipped cream, bananas,
nuts, or Ice cream.
- NRF: non-running friend, "nurf".
- Pace: preferred salsa of runners worldwide, hence the
term. "Pick up the Pace.' The heat is on.
- Pacer: 1. a running friend who sets the pace In the
latter part of a long race. 2. A runner who brings chips
and salsa to the workout.
- Path Pounders: trail runners.
- Plantar Fascitis: a Latin derivative for doing a face
plant on a trail run.
- Poison Oak: something one acquires, like endurance and
dirty shoes, from doing trail runs.
- Polypropelene: an awesome professional female runner
who is very lean, and wicks away sweat, "Wow. She is so
- Power Bar: bar frequented by the elite in the running
- PR a personal record, a best time at any given distance.
- Pronate: 1. Podiatrists say 90% of the running population
overpronates; the other 10% stagnate. 2. What the shoe
guy says you have and then you have to pay an extra 5
bucks for your running shoes. PW a personal worst.
- Racing Singlet: a little song or tune performed before
- Reverse Fartlek: The opposite of Fartlek (2). When a
runner suddenly, and without warning, stops and heads
into the nearby foliage, yelling out, "Reverse Fartlek!".
This advises the rest of the group that the runner has
determined an immediate need for a pottie break. It also
alerts the group that if the runner has not caught back
up with the group within an acceptable time, the group
must backtrack to ensure the runner is safe. (TMMRC)
- RC: 1. running club. 2, eating club where running is
the only means to the end. 3. A Pepsi or Coke substitute.
- Runner: something bad that happens to your pantyhose
rendering them useless for the remainder of the race.
- Runner's Courtesy: What a group of runners yell out
when they overcome another member who has previously "fartlek'd"
with insufficient speed and distance. In other words,
"we've caught up with you and we promise, we're not looking!"(TMMRC)
- Runner’s log: do not try to run with one of these. It
will be painful and could be embarrassing, always deposit
them (or bury them if you're on the trail) In the toilet
before you start.
- Sandbagger: when a very fast runner claims to be tired
or Injured and starts out In the back of the pack by choice
only to push and shove their way to the front. Punishment
for this behavior: filling bags of sand until the last
runner has finished, hence, the phrase. "You are nothing
but a '@'^#7.'@] Sandbagger...and you ain't no running
friend of mine'.
- Sciatic nerve: an extremely Irritating runner. "He's
got a lot of sciatic nerve!"
- SDF: super duper fast. "Look at her go. She's SDF!"
- Splits: when one runner divorces another runner, he
or she splits.
- Sprinting: what you thought you were doing during the
last .2 of the marathon and the clock read 2:59:59.
- Stretching: to be done only when you are first to cross
the finish line tape - you are allowed to stretch your
body as you break the tape, otherwise prohibited.
- Supinate: what you did after a race; you had soup and
- Taper: to cut back one's weekly mileage, before a big
race, from, say, 90 miles to 80 miles.
- Tempo Run: running to the beat of your favorite song
should be done at least once a week.
- Triathlete: an injured or disgruntled runner who has
money. A bike, and a pool ...and likes to prance around
all day In a Speedo.
- Ultramarathoner: a person who derives great personal
satisfaction from experiences that include, but are not
limited to, oxygen deprivation, motion sickness, dehydration,
chafing, blistering, vomiting, cramping, heat stroke,
and hypothermia...and preferably all at once.
- Ultrathon: a footrace that exceeds 26.2 miles, usually
on trails, that involves three methods of forward motion,
usually a run, jog and walk.
- Wall: as in "the wall". Something you lean against to
stretch your calf muscles. Especially at the twenty-mile
mark In a marathon, runners like to "hit the wall".