A runner's dictionary

If your New Year's resolution is to become a runner, then owning a pair of shorts and shoes is just the beginning. Learning the language is also important, so I've compiled a handy guide for easy reference any time you are out enjoying your new sport but have no idea what the heck anyone around you is talking about.

Planks: As in “let us give planks” for what we are about to receive. A runner's position of prone worship to the god of toned abs.

Reverse bridge: An undignified position involving lying on your back and sticking your pelvis up in the air while clenching your butt cheeks together, the sight of which apparently resembles the superstructure of a bridge. (Never accuse runners of a lack of imagination.)

Splits: When two runners decide to separate, sometimes several times at specific intervals.

Negative splits: See above, except here only one runner decides to break up and does so quickly, usually in the second half of a race when they realise they just want the whole thing to be over with. No one ever said running was simple!

Taper: Someone who applies Band-Aids to their nipples before running long distances.

Laps: How a runner approaches a source of water after a tough workout. With the decorum of a dog.

10K: A favourite breakfast cereal among runners, taken in the morning ideally in less than an hour.

Marathon: An event akin to breathing into a bag for 40 minutes except that it goes for a lot longer and you pay for the privilege.

Pacing: Something runners do when they can't trust themselves at the pub. They sit near someone holding up a flag with their goal number of drinks for the evening.

Anna Robic: A former Eastern bloc sprinter whose training technique of running without air to get faster has inspired generations of devotees since.

Wicking: A popular dance style among runners that has the effect of drawing sweat out of the body and straight into the atmosphere, bypassing your clothing.

Playlist: A compilation of your favourite running buddies.

Cross training: What you do when you're angry that an injury has stopped you from running.

Carbo load: A polite way of saying a s--t load, as in “I ate a carbo load of pasta last night and the big race is still weeks away”.

Runner's knee: The surname of a runner before they got married to the sport.

Sets: As in tennis, a repetitive series of the same thing, usually resulting in the athlete collapsing to the ground in exhaustion. Difference is in tennis, there's money at the end of it all.

Lactic acid: Much less fun than the other sorts, apparently.

The wall: Virtual leaning spots set up at regular intervals along the latter part of marathon routes. Used by runners involuntarily and with a considerable degree of sangfroid.

Medal: More elusive than the chest it would be pinned upon.

Smack up: Cool, runner's way of saying they went to the gym and threw a bunch of weights around.

HRM: His Running Mistress. A device that measures his love for her in heart beats. Red zone means things are getting serious.

Fartlek: Scatalogical humour for runners. As in “Did you hear the one about the athlete who varied their training intensity by running hard for a certain distance then slowing down just enough to let one off then running hard again?” Hilarious!

Gel: When two runners get on so well they can finish each other's races with nary a hair out of place.

Gun runner: Someone who could carry a cannon ball under each arm and still beat you.

High knees: A talent that Irish dancers share with sprinters involving lots of Tigger-like jumping about and very little arm movement.

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Do you have any definitions that might help demystify the sport for new runners?