Running Dictionary

Hey friends!

In preparation for the half-marathon on Saturday, I’m trying to post as many half-marathon tips and tricks as possible!  It’s the first half-marathon most of my friends are running (and it was my first race last year!).  As it always goes when trying something new, there are definitely things you wish you had known beforehand (like, uh, everything)…so I’m going to attempt to spill everything and anything.  This post is  going to focus on some words runners through around.  It’s not exactly easy to google when you’re without a computer/iPhone and a random runner starts talking to you while in line in the bathroom (warning: lines will be LONG).  So, in order to avoid some awkward moments, here are some “foreign” running words I heard:

1) “bib”/”bib number”: okay, okay, this isn’t necessarily an extremely difficult concept to grasp.  But, it still seemed strange the first time I heard it.  I’m twenty-two years old, I don’t wear bibs.  Except when I’m in races, because a bib/bib number is the paper with your race number that you pin to your shirt.  Sorry the picture below is blurry, I guess I was just too excited to stay still enough for a picture 😉

Excited to hold my bib!

2) “PR”: Personal record.  It is extremely likely you will overhear runners saying, “Yeah, I’m trying to PR” (translation: I’m trying to get my fastest time, ever.)

3) “BQ”: Boston Qualifier.  The Boston Marathon is one of the, if not the, most elite marathons.  To qualify for Boston is an ultimate measure of running talent and ability.  The Illinois Marathon is a Boston Qualifying race (meaning, if you can run as fast as they specify, you can qualify for Boston).

4) “Barefoot running”: This could mean legitimately running barefoot,  running in Vibrams, or running in other shoes with little arch support.  Some runners believe this is harmful for the foot because there is little support.  Others argue that it allows your foot to be as natural as possible and thus it’s utilizing the muscles in your feet more effeciently.  Moral of the story: they probably mean toe shoes.

5) “Expo”: This is where you pick up your bib number and race packet.  There are usually a lot of vendors there selling awesome running stuff.  (AKA: be prepared to spend too much money.  To say I spent too much at the 2011 Chicago Marathon  Expo is an understatement… 0:)

6) “Throw away clothes”: This is literally what it sounds like.  Sometimes race day conditions are a little cold/rainy and you feel like you’d want to wear a jacket, but don’t want to run the whole time in it.  Well…you wear throw away clothes (make sure they are clothes you don’t like!), and then just take them off and throw them on the ground when you no longer want to wear them.  Warning: you probably won’t get them back.

7) “GU”: This is something I mentioned in my long-run essentials post.  It’s energy gel that helps keep you goin’ on runs lasting over an hour.  Check out the back of a GU packet, or their website, for specific directions.  IMPORTANT: do NOT eat GU and drink Gatorade!  This will be harmful to your body.  If you’re eating GU, you must only drink water during the race…and it’s important you drink some as soon as possible after GU consumption.  This will help with proper absorption and prevent uncomfortable side effects.

8) “Glide” or “Body Glide”: This is something I also mentioned in my long-run essentials post.  This helps to prevent chaffing, and is extremely helpful for runs (and especially helpful on rainy days!)

Hopefully my little running dictionary will help you understand what runners are saying!  If not…well…there are a lot of runners, you probably won’t see them again anyways. 😉

Questions for you:
What “runner” words confused you in the past?
Are there any words that you still don’t know?


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