The world of running is intimidating— we know. But it doesn’t have to be. With a handle on the right lingo, understanding running is much easier. We’ve got a full, comprehensive list of all the terms you could ever need to know, but here’s a quick overview.

  • Illustration by Shannon Orcutt

    Basics. Before hitting the pavement, every new runner needs to understand some getting started secrets, like form, pace, warm-up, cool-down, and dynamic stretching.

  • Runners. From newbies to elite runners, there’s a wide range of skill levels. Some runners are also classified by the types of running they do, like ultramarthoners, triathletes, and streakers.
  • Workouts. “Running” doesn’t just mean throwing on sneaks and hitting the pavement. From grueling LSD (that’s “long, slow, distance”) runs to easy recovery runs, there are plenty of ways to work it.
  • Gear. You’ve probably seen minimalist shoes already (used for “barefoot” running), but did you know runners also wear super-cool tights for warmth and fanny packs (aka “fuel belts”) to tote gear?
  • Read on for even more educational info.

The Takeaway: Running isn’t as scary as it sounds. Gear up with the right term andyou can be on the road to becoming an ultramarathoner in no time. (Ok, maybe not no time.)

Avoid injury

Running is a high-impact activity and too much of a good thing can lead to injury (don’t worry we’ve got those terms in our running lingo, too). Learn the difference between low- and high-impact exercises to avoid overdoing it.

Fun Quote:

Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” — T. Alan Armstrong