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  • Writer's pictureCoach Joe Beckerley, CSCS

Important Running Terms to Know

Like most other forms of exercise, running has a vocabulary all of its own. Here’s what you need to know if you are a ‘newbie’ or first-time runner, from A to Z:

Aerobic Exercise Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate to work this most important muscle in your body. It is measured in Beats Per Minute (BPM) and compared to your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) to see just how much of a workout you are giving yourself.

Base Run Your basic run every day, moderate in duration, speed and intensity.

Cadence The number of steps taken per minute while running. The fastest runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute.

Cool-Down Stretching and other activities that allow the body to safely return to a resting state without any muscle cramps or spasms.

Dynamic Stretching Stretches for cool downs or warm ups that increase flexibility and range of motion. Examples include: lunges, squats, leg lifts. The opposite of static stretching.

Easy Run A light run that will help you train every day, but not take a lot out of you.

Endurance Endurance refers to the body’s ability to continue doing an aerobic activity such as running.

Fartlek This is the Swedish term for speed play. This distance running component is done by maneuvering into sudden burst of speed while in the middle of the training run. It allows your legs to utilize various paces that facilitate to recognition of your capacity to maintain such paces at certain distances. They key in Fartlek is to designate your very own landmark. This landmark which may be a tree or a post can give you an idea of how far you keep on running at such a fast pace. Give your pace some time intervals. You can dash for about fifteen seconds or even longer at about three minutes

Form The correct posture and method of running, with the upper body tall and relaxed, with the arms swinging forward and back easily.

Foot Strike The way your foot hits the ground with each stride. You should strike the ground with the middle of your foot, not the toes or the heels. Legs should be at the back, not in front of you.

Hills Based on the name itself you have to go through hills in order to perfect this one. It also demands more of your mental and will power than that of your legs. A little bit of dedicated practice can really pull you through this distance running component. Hill and incline routines and sessions give you a definite edge when it comes to running on hills as well as when you have your turn on the flat playing field.

Intervals Intervals are usually done on the track where distances are clearly defined. This is a key concept in doing intervals. Sessions involving intervals revolve around speed workouts wherein distance and pace is accurately laid out before you even begin. It’s very benefit is that you become more efficient physiologically over a period of time.

Long Run A long, intense run. Should only be done a couple of times a week.

Pace How long it takes to run 1 mile. Can also refer to the speed during a long race, such as a marathon pace.

Static Stretching The opposite of dynamic stretching. This is the stretch and hold form of stretching. Touch your toes for 10 seconds would be one example. Good for warm ups and cool downs in combination with dynamic stretching.

Stride The forward step taken while running. It can also refer to adding quicker steps for a short distance to improve running speed.

Tempo Runs The least complicated of the speed workouts are the tempo runs. This is simply because you do not have to keep track of any distance and you don’t have to recall your time splits every now and then. Through this session your body realizes how to economize running. You will be able to run a faster pace for longer periods of time. An example tempo run is 10 min easy, 20 min race pace, 10 min easy.

Ultra-run Any distance over a marathon 26.2 miles. Typical first ultra is a 50k.

Warm-Up Stretches and other activities done before each workout session to get the heart rate up and increase the blood flow to the muscles to warm them. This helps reduce the risk of injury. Both dynamic and static stretching work well.

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