Glossary of Terms – Running

This Glossary of Terms is a work in progress nad will be adding to it as time goes by. If any one has suggestions feel welcome in contacting us.

Abductor muscle Muscle that facilitates movement away from the body.
ABS/ABDOMINALS MAXIMUM These are the muscles of the stomach area. The muscle group extends from the rib cage to the pelvis and comprises three main muscles of importance – 1/ Rectus Abdominus (the “six pack” muscles that run down the middle of the stomach  2/ the obliques (the muscles on the outside of the stomach area) and 3/ the lumborum (the deep muscle that wraps around the mid-section of the The muscles mportant for posture

Acute injury Injury that happens suddenly, for example a sprained ankle.

Adductor muscle Muscle that facilitates movement towards the body.
Aerobic Any process that requires oxygen. Used to refer to low- to moderate-intensity exercise in which the cardiovascular and respiratory systems deliver all the oxygen the body needs.

Aerobic Exercise A metabolic Exercise “with oxygen”; it builds heart and lung strength and enhances ability to take in oxygen, feed oxygenated blood around the body. The long-term effects of aerobic exercise are lower blood pressure less heart problems and better circulation.

Anaerobic Literally means “without oxygen”. Used to describe high-intensity exercise in which the body cannot provide all the oxygen the body needs resulting in a build-up of lactic acid.

Anterior Located at the front.


Biomechanics Study of the function of the body in relation to movement.

Bones Hard, living tissue that contains calcium and phosphorus. Bones make up the skeleton, which provides the framework for the body.

Bursa Sac of fluid around most joints in the body that helps reduce friction and allows the joint to move freely.

Bursitis Inflammation of the bursa, i which makes movement painful.

Cadence – The number of strides taken in a prescribed period of time

Carbohydrate Substance found in food such as pulses, bread, potatoes, and pasta, and used by your body as fuel to give you energy. See also glycogen.

Carbohydrate-loading Eating low glycaemic index (or slow energy-release) carbohydrates to maximize the glycogen levels in muscles prior to a competition.

Cardiopulmonary Relating to the circulatory (heart, blood vessels) and respiratory (windpipe, lungs) systems and how they work together.

Cardiovascular Relating to the I heart and blood vessels (arteries, I veins, and capillaries) in the : circulatory system.
Cartilage Flexible connective tissue that provides a frame for some parts of the body (ears, windpipe, or ; respiratory tract, for example). Also covers articulating surfaces, where bones meet joints.
Chip time Race finish time as recorded by a computer chip, provided by the organisers and worn in running shoes.

Chronic injury One that develops over a long period, and may also be slow to heal.

Cool-down Slow or gentle stretch exercises or running, done after a hard workout or race to help the body recover…Core Abdomen and central trunk of the body.

Cross-training Low- or no-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, or gym work, which are used to supplement training, or to replace running and maintain fitness when injured.

CT scan X-ray computed tomography. This is a medical diagnostic scan that builds 3-0 images of the body by taking two images and combining them digitally.


Dislocation Injury in which the bones of a joint are pulled out of their normal position; often accompanied by ligament injury.


DOMS Delayed onset of muscle soreness. Pain and stiffness that can develop in the 24-72 hours after beginning a new exercise program.

Draft To tuck in behind another runner, letting that person set the pace and block the wind.


Electrolytes Essential minerals stored in the body, such as sodium, zinc, and potassium. Electrolytes are lost through sweat.
Energy drinks Nutrient-rich drinks for athletes that replace minerals lost through sweating during hard I exercise.
Erector muscle Muscle that raises a body part.
Extension Straightening of a joint
Extensor muscle Muscle that works to increase, or extend, the angle of a joint, for example when straightening the arm.

Fartlek Swedish word meaning “speedplay”. A type of training session that includes faster running alternated with slower running to add variety.
Flexion The bending of a joint.
Flexor muscle Muscle that works to decrease the angle of a joint, for example when bending the arm.
Foot strike How the foot makes contact with the ground, specifically which part of the foot first makes contact.
Fracture Break in a bone – anything from a hairline crack to a complete break. Depending on the bone affected, the break can be stable (fixed in position) or unstable (where the bone ends can move).

Glucose Basic form of sugar into which all carbohydrates are converted in the body.
Glycaemic index (GI) Ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods based on their overall effect on blood glucose levels. Foods that are absorbed slowly have a low GI rating, while foods that are more quickly absorbed have a higher rating.
Glycogen The form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body, usually in the liver and muscles. When glycogen levels fall during aerobic exercise, the body begins to feel fatigued and runners may “hit the wall”, or feel they are unable to continue.


Heel counter Rigid cup at the heel of a shoe that provides support.

Hill repeats Interval workouts done on hills instead of flat ground. Benefits of hill work can include increased cardiovascular strength, as your body learns to deal with the waste product lactic acid more : efficiently. Muscle strength and ; turnover are increased.
Hypertonic drinks Sports drinks that contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body – useful during marathons as they replace body salts more quickly than isotonic drinks.


Insole Inner lining of a shoe.
Interval Training Carefully calculated periods of high-intensity exercise alternated with resting
“recovery” periods designed to build cardiovascular endurance.

Isometric training Form of training in which your muscles work but do not contract significantly, for I example when pushing against a stationary object
Isotonic drinks Drinks that contain contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar to those found in the body.
Isotonic training Form of training in which your muscles work against a constant resistance, so the muscles contract while the resistance stays the same.


Kinematics Study of classical mechanics in the body. Describes the movements of the different parts of the body and how they relate to each other.
Kinesiology Scientific study of the physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms of human movement.
Kinetic chain Movement system consisting of myofascial (muscular), articular (joints) and neural (motor) components whereby each one is dependent on the others for optimum performance.


Lactate threshold Also known as the aerobic/anaerobic threshold, it is the point during high-intensity exercise at which lactic acid starts to build up.
Lactic acid A by-product of the body’s use of carbohydrates, this I builds up during anaerobic exercise. making the muscles feel heavy and tired.

Lateral Located on or extending towards the outer side of the body; also the outer side of a shoe.
groups, alternately contracting and relaxing to cause movement. There are two main types: smooth and skeletal muscle.

Lats/Latissimus Dorsi The large muscle of the back, which is used in all actions pulling down and
towards the body.

Ligament Tough fibrous bands of tissue that hold bones together at a joint.
Lumbar Relating to the lower part of the back.


Macronutrients Categories of nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) that you consume in the largest quantities and which provide most  of the body’s energy.
Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) The maximum level to which a person should raise their heart rate; it is
determined by age and calculated in beats per minute (bpm).

Medial Located on or extending towards the middle.
Metabolism The sum of your body’s chemical processes – it includes anabolism (building up compounds) and catabolism (breaking down compounds).
Metric mile 1500m (1640 yards) – nearest distance to the imperial mile, which equals 1609m (1760 yards).
Microfibre Lightweight, soft woven fabric with very tiny fibres, noted for wind and water resistance and its ability to wick (absorb) moisture.
Micronutrients Essential categories of nutrients that you consume in the smallest quantities – minerals and vitamins.
Midsole Central part of a running shoe between the insole and the outsole of the base.
Mobility exercises Exercises that mobilize the joints and muscles to prepare them for training (used for warm-up).
Moisture wicking Fabric designed to absorb moisture, especially sweat, from the skin’s surface.
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging. This is a medical image technique used to visualize internal structures of the body in detail.
Muscle Soft tissue made up of bands of protein filaments that slide past each other to produce a contraction. Muscles work in paired

Muscle force Power generated by muscle action.
Neutral spine Position of the spine that is considered good posture, this is the strongest and most balanced position for the spine and needs to be maintained for most exercises. A neutral spine is not completely straight, but has slight curves in its upper and lower regions.

Orthotics Inserts placed in shoes to correct biomechanical problems.
Osteoarthritis Degenerative disease that causes bony growths to develop around the edge of the joints, and damages the cartilage that lines the joints.
Overpronation Tendency to roll the foot too far inwards when running. The excessive inward roll of the foot before toe-off. Overpronation is believed to be the cause of many running injuries

Oversupination occurs when the foot remains on its outside edge after heel strike instead of pronating. A true oversupinating foot underpronates or does not pronate at all, so it doesn’t absorb shock well. It is a rare condition occurring in less than 1% of the running population. Oversupination Tendency to roll the foot too far outwards when running.
Overtrain Condition caused by training too much, leading to fatigue, burn-out, and/or injury.
Overuse Repeatedly overusing or exerting too much strain on a particular body part, which often results in injury to ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

Pace Measure of the speed of running, usually described as the number of minutes taken to run a mile.
PB – personal best.

Pecs/Pectorals The muscles of the chest area, used in moving the arms forwards and pushing
away from the body

Plyometrics Exercises that aim to improve the speed and power of movements by training muscles to move more quickly and powerfully.
Pronation – Pronation begins immediately after the heel contacts the ground. It is a normal and necessary motion for walking or running.

Pronation is the distinctive, inward roll of the foot as the arch collapses.

Post (or medial post) Firmer density of midsole material added to the inner side of the shoe. A post is designed to reduce overpronation.
Posterior Located behind.
Pronation Rotational movement of joints such as the ankle and wrist; a pronated foot is one in which the heel bone is angled inward and the arch tends to collapse.

Quads/Quadriceps The muscles of the fronts of the thighs, used to straighten the legs.


Range of motion Term used by physiotherapists to describe the movement a joint is capable of in any direction.

Recovery A rest period during which the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and all the different tissues used in sport can recover from their workout.
Rehabilitation The process of recovering fully from injury, often with the assistance of medical professionals.
Repitition (REP)  In resistance training a rep is one complete performance of an exercise, moving from the start position to the end position. If you are asked to do 10 reps of an exercise, you should repeat that exercise 10 times before stopping.
Repition Maximum (RM)  The number of repetitions of a particular exercise to be performed to achieve overload in the muscles
Resistance training See strength training.
Respiratory Relating to the respiratory system – nose, mouth, windpipe (trachea), and lungs.
Runner’s High – A feeling, usually unexpected, of exhilaration and well-being directly associated with vigorous running; apparently related to the secretion of endorphins.

Running economy Measure of how much oxygen the runner uses for a given, sub-maximal speed. In theory, two runners can have the same maximal capacity for oxygen use (called V02 max), but the one who is more economical at the sub-maximal speeds is likely to be the better runner.
Rupture A major tear in a muscle, tendon, or ligament.


Scapula Shoulder blade.
Set – The number of repetitions you perform of an exercise in one go, without pausing, You are often asked to repeat sets, in which case you can take a short rest period between each set.

Skeletal muscle Skeletal, or striated, muscle is attached to the skeleton, moves the body, and is under voluntary control via the centralnervous system.
Slow – Twitch These muscle fibres have a slower contraction time and are capable of storing more oxygen than fast-twitch fibres.
Smooth muscle Smooth muscle is found in the wall of all the body organs and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
Split – Splitting a course or a run into several different distance points – miles or kilometres, for instance – and recording your times for each section separately.
Sprain Injury sustained when a ligament is overstretched or torn.
Stability The ability of a shoe to resist excessive foot motion
Stamina – The bodies ability to resist fatigue while performing short to medium periods of high intensity work
Strain Injury sustained when muscle fibres are overstretched.
Strength training Using resistance through weights or bodyweight to build muscular strength and stamina.
Strike See footstrike.
Supination – The opposite of pronation. It’s an outward rolling of the forefoot that naturally occurs during the stride cycle at toe-off.


Taper – Runners usually cut back mileage (or taper) one day to three weeks (depending on race distance) before a big race. Tapering helps muscles rest so that they are ready for peak performance on race day.
Target heart rate – A range of heart rate reached during aerobic training, which enables an athlete to gain maximum benefit.

Tempo Training A generic term used to describe a steady state run of moderate to long distance that’s performed at a moderate to moderately hard pace. Tempo runs are designed to get the body to work at anaerobic threshold level – the level at which anaerobic energy paths start to operate – and will in time improve the duration at which you can hold a good pace.

Threshold runs – Runs of 5 to 20 minutes at a pace just a little slower than your 10-K racing pace; Threshold pace is roughly equivalent to what exercise physiologists call ‘lactate threshold’ or the point at which your muscles start fatiguing at a rapid rate. Running at or near lactate threshold is believed to raise your lactate threshold, which should allow you to run faster in the future.

Tendinopathy Pain and stiffness felt in the tendons, normally as a result of overuse.
Tendon Bands of strong, fibrous tissue that attach skeletal muscles to bones.
Tendonitis Inflammation of tendons.
Thoracic Relating to the chest area.
Turnover Also called stride frequency, this is the number of steps you take during a minute of running.
Ultrasound Ultrasound imaging (sonography) is used as diagnostic tool. Therapeutic ultrasoufid can also be used to speed up healing process after injury: it increases blood flow to the injury, reduces swelling, and massages the affected area.


Underpronator – Underpronation is less common than overpronation. The shoes of underpronators show outsole wear on the lateral (outer) side not just at the heel but all the way up to the forefoot. Typically, underpronators tend to break down the heel counters of their shoes on the lateral side.
Upper -The leather or mesh material thatencloses the foot.


Veteran – Older runner: men become ‘veterans’ on their 40th birthday; women, on their 35th birthday.

VO2Max (maximal oxygen consumption) The maximal amount of oxygen that a person can extract from the atmosphere and then transport and use in the body’s tissues


Warm-up – Five to twenty minutes of easy jogging/walking before a race or a workout. The point of a warm-up is to raise one’s heart rate so the body (and its muscles) are looser before a tough workout begins.
Wicking Process used to describe the action of fabric breathing See moisture wicking.

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