Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Sat, 9 Sep 2006 06:34:01 -0400

Words We Run By

RUNNING COMMENTARY 640

(rerun from August 2000 RW)

Every special interest develops its own jargon, its insider language. Runnerspeak is so much my natural language that I forget everyone doesn't speak it fluently. A new reader of a running magazine complained recently, "I marked 26 words in my first issue that are foreign to me."

I need to realize too that language evolves. Wording that served one running generation don't necessarily carry over to the next.

When I started running, some descriptions already sounded quaint -- if not silly. Runners weren't just runners but "harriers," "thinclads" or "spikesters." I gagged when a headline writer called us "cinderfellas."

Long retired are most of those words, along with others from my growing-up years in the sport. Gone the way of cinder tracks and the broad jump are "warmups" for flat-soled training shoes and "sweats" for long-sleeved, long-legged training suits.

Runnerspeak keeps changing. Here's a dual-purpose lesson -- to show newer runners how we used to talk and to update us oldies on the common usages of today.

Old: I put in 100 miles for a good week. New: I train 100 miles a month.

Old: Our long, slow runs are at seven minutes per mile. New: Our short, fast runs are at seven-minute pace.

Old: My hard runs are at race pace. New: My hard runs push the anaerobic threshold.

Old: I'm running a time trial. New: I've scheduled a tempo run.

Old: The stopwatch tells me how fast to run. New: The heart-rate monitor sets my tempo.

Old: I'm running 10 interval quarters for speedwork. New: Five-K races are my speedwork.

Old: This is an easy day. New: It's my recovery day.

Old: I'm resting today. New: This is a cross-training day.

Old: It's a small race with fewer than 100 runners. New: It's small with just 1000 entrants.

Old: The entry fee is high at $5. New: It's a bargain at $50.

Old: The distance is 10,000 meters. New: It's a 10K.

Old: Was that the five-mile mark we just passed? New: That was mile five.

Old: Where do you pin your race number? New: Your bib goes on the front.

Old: Stand at the starting line. New: Stand behind the right pace sign behind the start banner.

Old: I plan to go out fast. New: I'll walk until the traffic clears.

Old: Pick up the pace. New: Throw in a surge.

Old: I finished strong. New: I ran negative splits.

Old: I ran about 40 minutes. New: My time was 40 and change.

Old: The officials gave me 30:01, but my watch read 29:59. New: My watch said 30:01, but the Chip time was 29:59.

Old: My marathon time goal is three hours. New: My goal time is four hours.

Old: Drink plenty of water. New: Hydrate.

Old: He's dropping out. New: She's taking a walk break.

Old: Real runners never do LSD (long slow distance). New: Real runners don't walk.

Old: I'm making a pitstop in the woods. New: I'll wait in line at the portapotty.

Old: It's nice to see a few girls coming to races. New: Look at all those women.

Old: I love to beat the young guys, those under 20. New: I get a kick out of beating all the youngsters under 40.

Old: Who won? New: Which Kenyan won this time?

Old: He hit the wall. New: She bonked.

Old: Don't eat during a run or you'll get cramps. New: Eat energy bars or gels to keep from bonking.

Old: It's my favorite training course. New: It's my regular five-mile loop.

Old: Train in your race T-shirts to show everyone what you've done. New: Cotton is rotten.

Old: Where does someone find a good shoes? New: How do I find the shoe that's best for me from all these choices?

Old: That's the number-one-rated shoe. New: It's a good stability shoe if you need motion control but bad if you require more cushioning.

Old: Are your feet flat? New: Do you pronate?

Old: My knee hurts. New: You might have an IT band injury.

Old: Arthur Lydiard is my training guru. New: I follow Jeff Galloway's advice.

Old: My heroes are the oldtimers like Billy (Mills) and Buddy (Edelen). New: I admire the oldtimers like Billy (Rodgers) and Joanie (Benoit Samuelson).

Old: I read last month's news in this month's magazine. New: Why aren't this morning's results posted on the website by noon today
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