Running Jargon: Debunked

Are you planning to pound the pavements or take on the treadmill this year? As the UK undergoes a serious fitness fad, more and more of us are becoming fitness nerds, with a whole raft of jargon and lingo to go with our new-found obsession. Whether you're an experienced runner or keen to get moving as part of a New Year's resolution, we've put together a handy guide to some of the most helpful, incomprehensible and just plain stupid running terminology out there, from cadences to dreadmills...

5K pace -
There are a few standardised running distances which experienced runners know their “pace” for. Pace refers to how much time it takes to run one mile. In the case of a 5K distance (3.1 miles) a fast 5k pace would be around 5 minutes 44 seconds per mile. For beginners, around 10 minutes per mile would be a reasonable 5K pace. The same principle applies to 10K pace, marathon pace and long run pace.

Barefoot running -
Many runners are now ditching traditional trainers and opting for those “foot gloves” you see around in a bid to run more naturally – as if barefoot. Apparently this is much better for things like posture and impact.

Cadence -
You cadence is the number of steps you take per minute as you run. Also referred to as stride turnover, this is a handy measurement to know about as the best runners have a cadence of around 180 strides per minute. If you can find a song with a 180bmp to encourage you to hit that rate as you run, you'll be onto a winner!

Carb loading -
Before a big race, many experienced runners slow down their training programme and start filling up on lots of tasty carbs to give them the energy and the reserves to get through their endurance race.

Dreadmill -
A term used by “outdoor runners” to refer to a treadmill in the gym. They hate treadmills, basically.

LSD -
Not (necessarily) as fun as it sounds. Long Slow Distance is a run many runners work into their weekly routine, racking up lots of miles over an extended period to build up stamina.

Fartleks -
Hilarious sounding, but also kind of useful. This Swedish-born running technique incorporates quick sprints into longer, steadier runs to help beginners build up speed.

Form -
Have you seen that episode of friends where Phoebe and Rachel go running? Well Phoebe's form is insane. Insanely bad, that is. Basically your running posture, the best running form keeps your head up, your back straight but relaxed and your arms pumping gently at a 90 degree angle.

Foot strike
Where your foot first hits the ground is known as your foot strike. Hitting the ground with your heel or toe first is bad news. With each foot strike, aim to land on the middle of your foot.

Pronation -
Do you land on the outside of your foot when you run (underpronation) or on the inside of your foot (overpronation)? It's important to understand your pronation to avoid injury and to develop better running form. Insoles or well-chosen trainers can make all the difference.

Taper -
As a big race approaches, in addition to carb-loading many runners will gradually cut back on how many miles they run to help conserve energy for the big day. This is known as tapering.

Which is your favourite piece of running jargon? Does running lingo drive you crazy? Share the most annoying terms with other readers on the Base London Facebook group