Stop Wingin’ It: If You Want to be a Runner, You’ve Got To Learn The Lingo.

words runners use

I have a confession to make.

I was totally eavesdropping at the gym this morning. Two girls in their early 20s were flapping their gums about how bloated and fat they still feel after Christmas. The first thing that came to mind was, “Girls, you’re far too young to even know WTF the words bloated and/or fat even mean.” Anyhoo… as I continued to listen in, one of them said, “I’m working hard so I can PR at my next half-marathon.”

Her girlfriend asked, “What’s a PR?”

She replied, “I’m not sure what the letters mean, but I am trying to beat my time from last year.”

So you know me, right? It was all I could do not to hop right in and give ‘em a quick courtesy lesson BK style. Not because I know it all, (I don’t), but because I think if you’re a runner, you should at least know enough of the vocabulary to be considered dangerous.

Now before you start thinking I’ve run right off the edge of a** hole, hear me out. I floated around in my running shoes for two full years before I parked my a** in a chair one afternoon and Googled every last term I thought I should know. I did this because while training for my first marathon, people automatically assumed I knew what a PR, PB, PV, DFL, DNS, DNF and DNC meant. I didn’t. But now I do.

So whether you need a lightning fast recap, a full-on crash course, or just the CliffsNotes… here are my:

Top 15 “WTF Does That Mean?” Words, Terms and Acronyms Runners Use

Bonk: Crashing in a race because you run out of fuel, i.e., hitting the wall. (As runners, we’re bonked or bonkers all the time anyway, eh?)

Chute: The area directly after the finish line. (The best part of the entire freakin’ course if you ask me.)

CR: Crappy Race. (Just kidding. Course Record.)

DNS, DNF, DFL, DNC: Did Not Start, Did Not Finish, Dead F*ing Last, Do Not Care.

Drop the Hammer: What you’ve got left at the end to finish strong or pull away for the win. (For me? DNA – Does Not Apply.)

Fartlek: Running irregular distances at varying speeds. Swedish for “speed play”. (Synonymous with sh*t  that almost kills you.)

LSD: Let’s get high. Oh, no, wait. Let’s Slow Down. Oh crap, that’s not it either. Long, Slow Distances.

MP, MGP: Marathon Pace, Marathon Goal Pace. (Mine? S-a-S… Slow as Sh*t.)

MPD: Miles per day. (Depending on what you’re training for, far too freakin’ many.)

Negative Splits: Running the last half of your race faster than the first. (Don’t ask me for examples – it’s never happened over here.)

NRF: Non-Running Friend. (The peeps who stop returning your call while you’re training. All my NRFs bailed many moons ago.)

NRR: Not Running Related. (As a runner, nothing in your life will fit in this category ever again so you can skip it.)

PB, PV, PR, PW: Personal Best, Personal Victory, Personal Record, Personal Worst. (Your first race at a new distance is all of the above. Enjoy it.)

Tempo Run: A run that trains your body to maintain speed over distance. Includes a warm up, a stretch of time at a comfortably hard pace and a cool down. Ideal tempo pace feels a lot like: “OMG!, when can we stop?” Click here for more info…

Turnover/Cadence:  How many steps you take during one minute of running. (Normal range is 160 – 180. My legs happen to be on strike.) Click here to read more

Here’s where this all comes together:

Sign up for an epic, oh sh*t, “OMG what have I done?” race. Immediately bolt out your front door and proceed to run up and down the street shouting, “Hey peeps! Get a load of me! I’m about run a f*ing [enter goal here]!” 

While you’re out sharing the good news, use the opportunity to count, (or guesstimate!), how many times your legs turnover in a 60 second period. Once you’ve confirmed your dawgs aren’t on strike, (thank you Jesus), schedule a few LSD runs. On shorter outings, start stirring in a dash of your “OMG!” ideal tempo pace and a few hefty doses of “this sh*t sucks” Swedish speed play.

As time goes on, notice your NRFs, (and everything that’s NRR ), are all MIA.

After months of busting your a**, show up on race day confident you will PB, PV, PR or PW. Pray you don’t bonk. Pray you don’t end up DFL. Be grateful when you aren’t listed as DNS or DNF.

Lay down the hammer. Rock your finish line. Crawl through the chute. If for some reason, things don’t go according to plan, pull out your DNC card. Because at the end of the day, all that really matters is you had a damn good time doing it.



P.S. Okay sisters… what words, terms and/or acronyms did I miss? Come chat me up and we’ll educate the masses at

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