Running jargon buster

Fartlek, bonking, trigger points: running’s a funny old game. Here’s a guide to some common terminology.

Bonking
The American term for ‘hitting the wall’. See below.

Carb loading
Stocking up on carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, porridge and potatoes to maximise glycogen storage in the lead up to an endurance event.

Compression wear
Form-fitting gear that helps to beat strain and fatigue on muscles.

Electrolytes
Salts found naturally in the body, which muscles need to function. Salts are lost when you sweat.

Foam roller
DIY massage tool designed to help break down muscle tension and tackle trigger points.

Fartlek
Meaning 'speed play' in Swedish. Involves playing with speed and the type of terrain you run on to build aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Gels
Deliver carbohydrate in it purest form – sugar – to give energy during a long run. Come in a range of flavours, some with caffeine, some with added water.

Glycogen
The body’s energy storage in the muscles and liver. A limited supply is available so energy top ups may be needed during very long runs.

Half marathon
13.1 miles – or 21.09 kilometres.

Hitting the wall
Extreme fatigue caused by a lack of energy in an endurance event.

ITB or IT band
A long strip of connective tissue on the outside of your thighs running down to the knee. A common source of niggles for runners.

Intervals
Training technique to boost fitness that features short bursts of high intensity running followed by rest periods.

Marathon
26.2 miles – or 42.195 kilometres.

Pacers
Larger half marathon and marathon events often provide pacers for common finish times. Pacers usually carry a flag denoting their pace and finish time to spot at a distance.

Plantarfascitis
Inflammation in the sole of the foot, often caused from badly fitting running shoes or overloading issues.

PB
Personal Best. A runner’s individual time for a specific distance.

Running fuel
Calories, usually in the form of sugar, to give you energy fast when you run. 

Tapering
Bringing down the mileage in the weeks ahead of a longer distance race to help the body recover and conserve energy in the lead up to race day.

Trigger points
Areas of pain and tension in muscle tissue which sports massage therapists and other sports injury specialists will identify and tackle to help keep you injury-free.

Wicking
Technical fabric which removes moisture from the skin to help you stay dry and comfortable.

Katie Hiscock