Learning the running lingo
May 25th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

Learning the running lingo

Did that fartlek workout lead to a major bonk instead of runner’s high? Need a glossary just to understand what we’re talking about? We demystify some of the most common running terms.


Verb: To become utterly exhausted and depleted and unable to keep moving forward at a desired pace. This occurs when your glycogen stores are depleted.

Example: “I didn’t think I’d bonk so hard during the race, but it felt like I hit a brick wall and my legs were made of concrete.”

Triathlete: Running vs. triathlon running


Noun: A Swedish word that means “speedplay.” A run where you speed up and slow down several different times during the workout. You must keep running during the entire workout for it to be considered a fartlek.

Example: “Our fartlek was 10×90 seconds with one minute of jogging in between.”


Noun: Set distances or times that are meant to be run fast and followed by periods of rest.

Example: “Yesterday I did three one-mile intervals in the park with six minutes rest between each.”

Triathlete: Injured? Give deep water running a try

Junk miles

Noun: Miles you get in just to keep your weekly mileage high. Some coaches believe that junk miles make you stronger, while others believe that they do little else than contribute to injury.

Example: “I was putting a lot of miles into the bank while training for Ironman, while my teammate wasn’t concerned about getting in junk miles.”


Acronym: “Long slow distance.” This is a run you do to build your aerobic capacity.

Example: “My LSD run was 20 miles this week.”

Triathlete: Five drills for better running

Negative split

Verb: To finish the second half of your interval or race faster than the first.

Example: “I negative split the two-mile interval with a 5:20 and then a 5:15 mile.”

Recovery run

Noun: To run at an extremely easy pace, which pushes blood through your muscles and allows them to recover more quickly than they would if you did nothing.

Example: “I’m really sore from bonking in that race - I need to get outside and do a recovery run.”

Runner’s high

Noun: A feeling that runners sometimes get after a brutal workout or race, or after a long run. During a runner’s high, you feel invincible, unstoppable. When this occurs during a workout you feel like you’re running effortlessly and could go for miles on end.

Example: “Work’s been kicking my butt lately - I need to go for an interval workout and get a runner’s high.”


Noun: Short, quick runs that are 50 to 100 meters in length. They should be run at a pace that is fast, but not so fast that you’re losing your form. They’re meant to help you warm up for a race or workout and to help you get the feeling of running fast.

Example: “If I don’t run strides before a race, I can’t seem to hit my rhythm.”

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