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Runnerspeak A 10k Truth Dictionary of Running and Other Sports Jargon

Got any good vocabulary words to add to our sports jargon dictionary?

10k - distance of 10,000 meters or 6.2 miles

15k - 15,000 meters or 9.3 miles, an odd distance, not quite a 10-miler, sort of a "tweener" on the way to a half-a-thon

Sir Roger BannisterBannister, Sir Roger - English runner first broke 4-minute mile barrier in 1954

Bob Beamon sets long jump record in 1968Beamon, Bob - Olympic Gold medalist, set World Record in Mexico City with long jump of 29 feet 2-1/2 inches which in 1968 surpassed the record for longest jump by a remarkable 1 foot 9-3/4 inches; a World Record he held for 23 years; an Olympic Record that still stands.

beamonesque - adjective used to describe an athletic performance that so dramatically surpasses any previous one that it completely overwhelms the imagination by its seeming impossibility. Based on Bob Beamon's Olympic long jump performance in Mexico City in 1968.

bear - point in the race or interval where lactic acid buildup physically changes your stride as if you were carrying a bear on your back

beta blockers - A class of drugs that works by partially blocking the effects of adrenaline and adrenaline-like chemicals in the body during exercise and times of stress. Reduces heart rate, blood pressure and the heart’s force of contraction. Although not banned from such sports as golf, becoming more controversial in use. (From Links Magazine article, For Beta or for Worse).

blood boosting - See blood doping

blood doping - runner extracts own blood then uses it as a transfusion prior to a race to increase the number of oxygen carrying red blood cells

bloody nipples - caused by long hot runs in which sweat and chafing rub nipples raw

bodyglide® - lubricating product to prevent chafing and skin irritation

bodyline - Australians description of the fear and pain suffered when cricket players were hit by English paceman Harold Larwood's thunderbolts during the 1932-33 series down under. See leg theory.

bonk - crashing in a race (usually a marathon) attributed to running out of fuel

Bradman, Sir Donald - Australian cricket player who dominated the sport in the 1930's; a prolific batter with a career average of 99.94. "Poetry and murder lived in him together. He would slice the bowling to ribbons, then dance without pity on the corpse.'' R. C. Robertson, a Glasgow journalist describing Bradman.

Transcontinental racers leave New Jersey ferry, 1929bunion derby - International transcontinental foot race organized by promoter C.C. Pyle in the late 1920's. One race was from Los Angeles to New York in 84 days (3,339.5 miles); the second was from New York to Los Angeles in 78 days (3,531.7 miles).

carcasee (kär-küs-ee) - n. runner of road races with tendency to suffer and die somewhere along the route, usually as the result of being overtaken by a carcassore (see below). Synonym: roadkill.

carcassore (kär-küs-ôr) - n. Sometimes confused with a ferocious pre-historic canivorous creature, this term applies to a runner who has a net positive production of road kills as opposed to a carcasee, whom have a tendancy to cast a very unpleasent aroma anytime they step into a road race. Related to carcasee (see above).

cardiac creep - pulse rate increases despite pace stays same due to dehydration. Heart pumps harder to carry the same amount of oxygen

carry the stick - use of baton in relay race (see usage note in Rage Report of Oregon Marathon Relay)

Percy Cerutty and Herb Elliott Training on sand hillsCerutty, Percy Wells - coach and running guru of Portsea, Australia who revolutionized training for the mile and middle distances during the 1950's and 1960's.

Cerutty Virus - radical training program for milers and middle distance runners created by Percy Cerutty which included running barefoot, training in sand, changes in diet and lifting weights

chub rub - chafing caused by fat thighs rubbing together

cinderfella (archaic) - a male runner who competed on cinder tracks

click - slang for "kilometer" or 1,000 meters. It is commonly used by grunts in the military, who haven't got time to speak words of more than two syllables in the situations they must deal with. Soldiers are tough, but runners require even greater efficiency, prefering to shorten kilometer even further to a single letter...hence "10K" means 10 kilometers (or 6.2 miles).

Glenn Cunningham, American  distance runner in the 1930'scross training - training strategy which uses other forms of aerobic exercise such as swimming, cycling, cross country skiing

CSS - Chronic Slowness Syndrome (see Guest Rage for more about CSS)

Cunningham, Glenn - Top American distance runner in the 1930's despite missing all the toes on his left foot where injured by fire as a child. World record in mile of 4:06:8 in 1934 and 1:49:7 in half-mile in 1936. Pictured winning the 1500m at an AAU meet in Princeton, New Jersey on July 4, 1936 (second place finisher Archie San Romani and third place, Gene Venzke).

DFL - dead f'n' last

Dick Cheney Racing Strategy: deployed when one thinks they have the race won before it starts

dirty dozen - A set of 12 - 400 meter intervals

DNF - did not finish

DNS - did not start

double-clutch - a pattern of breathing in which a runner inhales two breaths for every breath exhaled.

double-double - Lasse Viren's back to back Olympic gold medals for Finland in the 5000 and 10,000 meters won in 1972 and again in 1976.

east sider - coffee ordered by real runners; 16 oz. black, no room

Herb ElliottElliott, Herb - one of the greatest of all middle distance runners. Won the 1500 in record time of 3:35.6 at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Elliott owned the mile; raced 44 times from 1954 to 1960 and was never beaten.

energy gels - (also carbo gels) rather expensive commercially prepared semi-liquid carbohydrate snack packaged in single serving pouches, used as a supplement by cyclists and long distance runners during long periods of exercise. Designer product made to provide an energy boost without the inconvenience of chewing. Further information and recipes for homemade energy gels on Cycling Performance Tips website.

erythropoietin (EPO) - a naturally occurring human hormone, produced by the kidneys, that stimulates the production of red blood cells. It increases oxygenation of the blood, and therefore stamina, by forming extra red blood cells. Listed by the International Olympic Committee as a banned substance. Used as a performance enhancer, it is thought to place extra strain on the heart. Screening for EPO requires blood as well as urine samples to be submitted for testing.

EST - explosive strength training, using sprints and jumps rather than weights and machines for conditioning. Uses sprint and jumping exercises that maximize height and distance and minimize contact time on ground.

facial - Smacked in the face with the ball during play (Volleyball term)

fartlek - Swedish word meaning speedplay, in which one runs irregular distances at varying speeds interspersed with jogging intervals

fast twitch - muscle fibers that determine if a runner is suited to sprints

flats - non-spiked shoes

Flintstoned the shoot - as in "bam-bam" for a very close one-two finish. May be expanded to three or more "bams" when involving a larger group of associated runners who finish in sequential order.

Flintstones - n. A group of race finishers in one, two, three or more order in reference to the expression "Flintstoned the shoot."

Flopper - A runner who has a habit of collapsing in dramatic fashion in a non-winning position (usually second place) at the conclusion of a race. Semi-floppers, while not flopping at the finish, may exhibit border line flopping behavior, such as conducting post-race interviews lying flat on their backs. Non-floppers include the likes of Emil Zatopek, Steve Prefontaine, Billy Mills and Ron Clarke. Any questions? (Note: When it becomes necessary to connect a runner to any gravity flow or active system designed to replenish their body fluids within 15 minutes of finishing AND TWO (2) qualified physicians are present AND each physician attests that the runner would have died otherwise, that runner is exempt from flopping).

Flying Finns - Three Famous Finnish runners: Viljo Akseli Heino, Paavo Nurmi, and Viljam Ritola

The Irish's Four HorsemenFour Horsemen - Notre Dame's backfield from 1922 through 1924 made up of Don Miller, James Crowley, Elmer Layden, Harry Stuhldreher. Win-Loss record for Irish: 27, 2, tied 1.

GBR - or "Galloway's Book On Running" (First Edition) is an often mentioned reference written by Olympian Jeff Galloway. It's the main text that The Rage cut his teeth on until Manciata taught him The Truth about running. Put a web mistress on top of it, add a drummer and some background vocals and the rest is history...or, at least a pretty decent web site, eh?

hammer - what you got left at the end

HES - a plasma expander that increases the levels of oxygen-carrying red blood cells found to have been used by Finnish cross-country skiers who failed drug tests at the World Championships.

hit the wall - a sudden bonk in which you die so suddenly it is as if you ran into a wall

hypoglycemia - An abnormally low level of sugar in the blood.

hyponatremia - An abnormally low level of sodium in the blood.

hypopnea - Abnormally slow and shallow breathing.

IOC - International Olympic Committee, governing body of the Olympic Games

intervals - system of training using repeated short distances at greater than or near race pace

jack rabbit - taking off fast from the start

John McCain Racing Strategy: deployed when it becomes necessary to create some real running room on a crowded track

junk miles - many miles run at a slow pace, attributed to a training strategy by runners who confuse high mileage counts with improvement

kick - sudden surge that takes you over the line

Kong - 10k Truth runners' nickname for a 2,000 foot vertical ascent 3+ mile run on Buck Mountain northeast of Coburg, Oregon. Click for Kong stats.

lactic threshold - point at which you cross the sissy-baby line from aerobic to anaerobic activity, producing lactic acid in the muscles, a byproduct of anaerobic exertion

leg theory - English term used to describe cricket captain Douglas Jardine's legside fielding cordon used against the Australians in the 1932-33 series, in which he ordered his bowlers to aim at their opponents' bodies and heads with short-pitched balls. A dangerous tactic later banned by authorities. See Bodyline.

Long Red Row - Nickname of Tampa Bay's Leto High School distance runners

LSD - long slow distances

Billy Millsmarathon - long distance race run over 42 km 195 m or 26 miles 385 yards. Introduced at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 to commemorate the run by a Greek courier from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC. See Pheidippides.

Merckx, Eddy - Belgian cycler who won the Tour de France five times. Nicknamed "The Cannibal" because of his appetite for winning.

Mills, Billy - 1964 10,000 meter Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist

mpd - miles per day

Paavo Nurminegative splits - running the last half of a race faster than the first half

Nurmi, Paavo - Finnish distance runner, one of the "Flying Finns", winner of 9 Olympic golds

Oliver's Woofing Theorem - "...in any given athletic competition (team, individual, amatuer, professional), the team/player who is the most over-hyped/over-praised by his/her/its fans/supporters is doomed to LOSE the competition." See more: http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/rsfc/Woof.html

over-pronator - running form in which foot rolls inward too much; likely to have flat foot

Jesse OwensOwen, James "Jesse" - Four gold medals at Berlin Olympics, 1936. Holder of five world records in 1935.

Pheidippides - According to legend, Greek courier 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. See marathon.

plantar fasciitis - Inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue between muscles in the mid-foot and the skin on the bottom of the foot which attaches the ball of the foot to the heel. Common and painful problem for runners. Causes can include lack of arch support, increased miles, poor flexibility in calf muscles, overweight.

pronator - running form with moderate inward rotation of the foot, likely to have medium arch height

Purple Haze - Nickname of Columbia High School Boy's Cross Country Team in Lake City, Florida

quads - four large muscles at front of thighs; four shots of espresso before a race

rabbit - a runner who pushes the field to a better time then drops out of the race before the final laps

roadkill - n. See carcasee.

runner's lube™ - lanolin product to reduce chafing and skin irritation

sandbagger - a fast runner with a talent for acting who will masquerade as a slow runner to lure the competition into complacency. Lance Armstrong used this technique during the 2001 Tour de France. As he climbed L'Alpe d'Huez he grimaced in apparent pain. With his fellow riders thinking he was in trouble, he caught his top rival, took a long, hard look at him, then pulled ahead at stunning speed.

sarcomeres - muscle contraction unit of measure

Short-Roped - A term borrowed from mountaineering describing a technique commonly used by pacers to "pull" another runner to their desired time goal, where the following runner runs on the shoulder of the pacer. In mountaineering, the technique applies primarily to amateur clients who have the money to hire very strong guides, but don't have a clue and are actually attached to a short rope. In running, there ain't no rope, baby.

singles - running once per day. Example: "I ran fifty miles last week, in singles" means that the runner ran once per day for a total of fifty miles, as opposed to running twice or three times per day.

slow twitch - muscle fibers that determine if a runner is suited to distance running

smack - A well-timed, succinct and eloquent statement, typically in the form of a highly accurate and appropriate one line assessment of a competitive situation. Upon successful delivery, reminds the recipient of who you are in context with who they are (e.g.: Muhhamad Ali saying to Ernie Terrell as he lay flat on the canvas, "What's my name, fool? What's my name?" after being called his former name "Cassius Clay" repeatedly before the fight). Symptoms of successful delivery usually come in the form of recipient' s (a) mouth hanging open; (b) stuttering or; (c) uttering some rambling retort that typically includes a personal attack on your mother. The effective delivery of smack can only occur if one walks the talk. (For comparison, see trash talk; also see The Rage on Conversational Competition.)

spikester (archaic) - track runner who wears spikes

splits - the time to a given point in a race

Stotan - a follower of Cerutty's Stotan Creed of hardness, toughness and unswerving devotion to an ideal

Stotan Creed - the name Cerutty gave his running program in the late 1950's combining Stoic and Spartan philosophies

stride - the distance traveled in a single long step

supinator - not enough inward motion of foot; likely to have a high, rigid arch (same as under-pronator)

sweats - sloppy, loose fitting cotton clothing which absorbs moisture and gets very heavy when wet

tempo run - usually a two to five mile run at 80 - 90% effort

The Emperor - Nickname of Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. who was born in 1902 and died in 1971. Considered the heart and soul of modern golf, between 1923 and 1930 as an amateur he won 13 of 21 major championships, then retired from play at the age of 28.

Jim ThorpeThorpe, Jim - one of the greatest, most versatile athletes of all time. Won gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon at 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Played major and minor league baseball and professional football including coaching and playing for the Oorang Indians in 1922-23. (Photo: Jim Thorpe in football uniform of Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1909, Number NWDNS-75-X-2, Still Pictures Branch, National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD)

thinclads (archaic) - runners once recognized by their lightweight shorts and singlets

Trading Paint: What happens when things get dicey between runners battling for position. Most often occurs on the track when someone has had enough of being boxed in. More blatant examples occur on narrow and isolated trail sections of cross country courses away from any observers which holds the DQ risk to a minimum. This occurrence usually is accompanied with some very bad words being loudly exchanged by the affected parties. The first definition applies to auto racing, with the only difference being hand gestures substitued for bad word exchanges.

trash talk - a less succinct, ineloquent, poorer cousin of "smack". Usually taking the form of a rambling retort, typically including a personal attack on your mother. (For comparison, see smack; also see The Rage on Conversational Competition.)

Trout, Wimpy - metaphor for someone who can't handle real hills...like some of the weaker members of any anadromous fish species that actually use fish ladders to get around dams

tweener - race distance of 15k (see 15k)

under-pronator - not enough inward motion of foot; likely to have a high, rigid arch (same as supinator)

Väätäinen, Juha - Finnish runner, nicknamed Juha the Cruel for his toughness; 1971 European Championship winner in 5000 and 10,000 meter races.

velvet hammer - a kick so soft and smooth it looks like velvet feels

Viren, Lasse - 5000 and 10,000 meter runner from Finland. Winner of four Olympic gold medals (see double-double). Known for his great comeback to win after falling during the Munich Olympic 10,000 meter race. Some accused Viren of blood doping during his career. Charges not proven.

VO2max - maximum oxygen intake

Wishing you the best of times - A runner's sign-off used at the close of a letter or email. Thanks to Donald Marks for this submission.

Woofing - "Woofing is any outlandish, outrageous, inflammatory, ridiculous, unsupported, sophmoric, or otherwise brain-dead commentary or predictions regarding a specific team, player, or athletic event. Comments such as "Tampa will kick Dallas' ASS!!!", "Blazerz R00L!", Emil Zatopek"Notre Dame SUCKS", or "Sampras will CRUSH Chang like a grape!" are all considered to be woofing. Woofing does not include rational, well-thought-out, well-supported commentary. Thus, comments such as "I think New York will beat Orlando, because of their outstanding defense" or "I think Kansas City has a chance to go all the way, with Montana on the team" are NOT considered woofing." (Definition of Woofing from Oliver's Woofing Theorem at http://www.cae.wisc.edu/~dwilson/rsfc/Woof.html)

Zatopek, Emil - Czech runner and Olympian. Won three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in 5,000, 10,000 and marathon setting Olympic records in all three distances


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Date and time page last updated: 02/02/2008 10:26 AM