Glossary of Running Terms

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Running is like pizza: often great, almost always good, never truly bad.
If you've had enough, save some for tomorrow.
– Rob Kaper

Placeholder. Undoubtly, superior quotes from more accomplished runners exist.

Welcome to the world of running, where words have their own special meanings. Like all cultures, running has its own terminology and abbreviations. This page is here to help you understand the most common terms you'll hear when people talk about running. Some extra info is added where Futunk has its own spin on things. Let's get started!


B is for BIB


BIBs are like a license plate in a race, identifying you on the course. Race BIBs often niclude timing chips, tracking your start and finish accurately.

C is for Carbon Plate

Carbon Plate

A revolution in running shoe technology, the carbon plate made its debut with Nike's Vaporfly 4% in 2019. Constructed from lightweight yet robust carbon fiber, this innovation has since become a hallmark of high-performance running footwear across various brands.

Initially sparking controversy, the concept has gradually gained widespread acceptance. The carbon plate's role is to optimise running economy and efficiency, allowing runners to achieve enhanced results while expending less energy. While its impact is most notable for seasoned athletes, even recreational runners can experience benefits. By reducing fatigue and lowering the risk of injury, the carbon plate contributes to a smoother and more rewarding running experience.

It's important to note, however, that the advantages provided by carbon plate shoes are incremental. While they may be a desirable addition to your running gear collection, they are by no means a substitute for proper training and a balanced diet.

So, if your budget doesn't quite stretch for these high-tech shoes, don't sweat it. Your dedication to hitting the pavement and staying healthy is is what really matters!

D is for DNS/DNF


In the world of sports,DNS means Did Not Start and DNF stands for Did Not Finish.

Both casual and professional runners might find themselves not showing up for a race they signed up for or not completing the full distance, whether it's by choice or necessity. Some event organisers leave out non-starters and non-finishers from the results, but others include them and use these abbreviations.

Having DNS or DNF next to your name is totally fine. There's no shame in it, life happens. Sometimes you're just not up for it and that's as valid a reason as any other. In the case of an (looming) injury or fatigue, deciding not to run is a smart move a runner should be proud of, not a setback. Taking care of yourself is a victory, never a loss.

Futunk is all about giving DNS/DNF results the respect they deserve. We treat them like any other activity, even to the extend where they are considered your personal best for a certain distance if it applies. Just signing up for a race sets you apart from the many who didn't. Remembering this might just be the extra motivation you need for crossing that start or finish line next time.


DQ stands for Disqualified. This one's a no-brainer: always run the full race, avoid any forbidden performance enhancers, and strictly adhere to the event's rules — including visible wearing your BIB number, and only yours!

For instance, if someone were to take a shortcut during the race, they might end up with a DQ.

For now, Futunk doesn't actually display DQs because they are pretty rare, luckily.

E is for Easy Run

Easy Run (Training)

The goal of an Easy Run is to keep things light — it aids recovery, helps prevent overtraining, and builds your aerobic base. It might not feel intense, but it's an essential piece of the puzzle.


F is for Fartlek

Fartlek (Training)

Some running lingo is self-explanatory, but Fartlek certainly isn't. Unless you happen to speak Swedish: the word simply means speed play. It combines varying degrees of speed and intensity, just like interval training, but the big difference is a lack of structure. Runners pick their moments as they please and create challenges based on their surroundings. You might find yourself sprinting between traffic lights or around a landmark, for example.

This intuitive approach not only improves aerobic capacity, endurance, and mental toughness but also keeps workouts engaging and casual, making fartlek training a versatile and enjoyable addition to any runner's routine.

Fun Run

Runners dressed as the Teletubbies during a fun run

A Fun Run is a lively, organised running event that's all about having a blast. While some may sort runners by speed for practical purposes, timing isn't usually a big deal. Often there is no official time registration whatsoever and distances can vary from those seen in competitive races.

Fun runs often revolve around a theme. You might see participants dressed up in crazy costumes (think Santa Run), or the route might feature multiple stops for side activities. These could include sightseeing, but also indulging in food and drinks (like a Beer Run). It's all about embracing the joy of running in unique and entertaining ways!

G is for GOAT


GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time. It's a term that's not just for running — it is used across sports and competitions.

To let's settle this debate once and for all: the ultimate GOAT runner is not Eliud Kipchoge, Kelvin Kiptum, Haile Gebreselassie or Usain Bolt. It's not Paula Radcliffe, Sifan Hassan, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone or Femke Bol. It's not Roger Bannister or Kathrine Switzer. It's you.

H is for Half Marathon

Half Marathon

A Half Marathon, often shortend to HM, covers a distances of 21,095 kilometers (or 13,1 miles), exactly half the length of a full marathon.

However, don't let the half fool you — it's not a lesser challenge. A half marathon stands on its own, with its own emphasis on the interplay between speed and endurance. Every distance has its own charm, and preferences vary among runners. There's no ultimatre best or worst distance; each has its own thrill and accomplishment.

Heart Rate Zones

Heart rate zones help you get the most from your workouts. Let's break it down:

Z1 and Z2 are the aerobic zones. In Z1, it's a comfortable jog where you can chat easily. In Z2, you're still comfy but pushing a bit. These zones build endurance and help your body use fats for energy.

Z3 is the transition zone – a little harder but sustainable. You're still talking, but it's not as smooth as before.

Z4 gets spicy. You're working anaerobically, feeling that burn. Chatting is tough, and you're focused on pushing yourself.

Z5 is full throttle — all-out effort where talking's out of the question. It's the sprint zone, boosting speed and power.

Mixing these zones smartly amps up your training.

I is for Intervals

Intervals (Training)

Ever heard of interval training or just Intervals? It's a popular technique found in many training plans. Here's the deal: you alternate bursts of intense effort and speed with short breaks in a single workout.

Why? Because it lets you hit those higher speeds you might struggle to maintain during a steady run. It's like hitting turbo mode on your run. And guess what? This back-and-forth actually helps you level up your training game. So, if you're looking to boost your speed and push your limits, intervals are the secret sauce!


K is for 5K/10K

The 5K (5 kilometers or 3,1 miles) and 10K (10 kilometers) are two very common distances in outdoor running events.

For most casual runners, a local 5K is likely to be the distance of their first organised race.

Let's break it down — K stands for kilometers. The 5K covers 5 kilometers (about 3,1 miles), and the 10K covers, you guessed it, 10 kilometers. These distances are very common in outdoor running events. If you're starting out, a local 5K race might just be your first organised run. It's a great stepping stone!

L is for Long Run

Long Run (Training)

Get ready for the Long Run! It's a key component in many long-distance training plans. Here's the deal: you clock in some serious miles at a slow and steady pace, keeping your heart rate on the lower side. This kind of training builds up your endurance, helping your body become a fat-burning machine.

Why the fuss over fat? Well, when your body becomes efficient at burning fat for fuel, it's like having an endless supply of energy. This is especially handy for distance runners, as fat stores in the body are way bigger than those quick-burning sugars. So, when you're cruising through those long runs, you're tapping into a more sustainable energy source. It's like switching from a sprint to a marathon mindset.

By doing these longer, slower runs, you're also giving your body a chance to recover and adapt. And guess what? All this good stuff can even make you faster in the grand scheme of things. So, when you spot "Long Run" on your training plan, remember you're laying down the foundation for your running success.

M is for Marathon


A Marathon covers a whopping 42,195 kilometers (or 26,2188 miles). It's an iconic distance known worldwide. Its history dates back to legendary Greek messenger Pheidippides, who famously covered this distance from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 BCE. The specific lenght, however, owes its roots to the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.

Many see completing a marathon as the pinnacle of running triumphs, but there is plenty of debate on that. There's a world of ultra races with even greater distances, and some are ridiculously though thanks to challenging terrains and steep elevations.

Yet, running is not just about raw numbers. Running is one the the few sports where casual runners and top-notch athletes regularly participate in the same event, sharing the same starting line. But between them, it's not a head-to-head competition. Your very first training jog or 5K race can be as monumental as breaking the world record. Each step signifies self-improvement and determination, regardless of the distance.

Still, let's not gloss over the marathon's intensity. It's a tough nut to crack. Underestimate it at your own risk.

Medal Monday

Proudly displaying a finisher medal

Medal Monday — a term that captures the temporary privilege to boast about completing a race. With most events taking place over weekends and awarding medals to those who finish, the Monday morning coffee break at workplaces is a common time and place for runners to showcase their well-earned pride. It's a moment to relish the glory and share the journey with colleagues.



P is for PR/PB

PR, which stands for Personal Record, and PB, short for Personal Best, share the same meaning. Most running events offer standard distances, and it's common practice for runners to keep tabs on their swiftest times for these specific distances.

The medals you see on profile pages on Futunk don't signify podium placements like first, second, or third. Instead, they proudly signal personal achievements. A golden medal represents a runner's personal best for that distance – their top performance for a particular distance. It's not about being the fastest in the race, but about being your best self.


R is for Rest

Recovery (Training)

After a race or intense training, your body needs to recover. That's where a Recovery Run works its magic. It's a short, easy-paced jog that helps your body bounce back.

Now, you might wonder why not just kick back and do nothing. Well, gentle movement actually aids recovery. It increases blood flow, which delivers nutrients to your muscles and flushes out the waste. So, while the couch is tempting, a light jog can be even more rejuvenating. Give it a shot!


Rest $mdash; a word that's music to a runner's ears. It's a vital component in the training game. Sure, sleep is the headliner, but rest is a whole package. It also means not running every single day, especially when you're feeling fatigued. And guess what? That's totally okay. Skipping a training session or even bowing out of an event due to fatigue won't bring the world crashing down. In fact, being well-rested is a secret weapon for recovery and injury prevention. So, remember, a little rest goes a long way in keeping you on track and injury-free.

S is for Splits

Splits are time measurements for shorter segments within a race or activity. For instance, in races, timing mats often record splits at halfway points or every few kilometers.

Futunk calculates splits based on your watch data for all distances and includes them in all of your results. However, when available, official chip times from race results do take precedence, just like they do for the overall race distance.

T is for Tempo/Threshold Run

Tempo/Threshold Run (Training)

Curious about a Threshold Run? It's like finding your Goldilocks pace " not too easy, not too intense. During this workout, you're pushing yourself but not going full throttle. It's a balance between effort and control.

Now, here's the cool part. A Tempo Run helps your body handle that burn feeling that comes with pushing limits. It's about training your body to manage the fine line between aerobic and anaerobic effort. This builds your ability to run faster for longer without going into overdrive.

So, when you're out there, aim for a pace that's comfortably challenging. You can still chat, but it's not a casual stroll. Whether you're prepping for a race or simply upping your game, Tempo Runs are a clever way to amp up your endurance and speed. Give it a shot and feel the progress!