If you've had the pleasure (or torture) to hang around runners for any amount of time, you know that we have a language all of our own. AND WE LIKE TO TALK ABOUT RUNNING A LOT! 
You may have wondered to yourself, "What does PR mean?" or "What does BQ stand for?" or even "How far is a 15k?" But you probably didn't want to ask for fear of sounding like you were out-of-the-know or fear of dragging the conversation on any longer and having to pretend like you care. I get it. I know I have wondered those exact thoughts myself. So don't worry, Boo! I got you! Today I am demystifying all that runner's jargon for you with my very own Guide to Runner's Language!

Chub Rub - The unfortunate occurrence that happens when parts of your body are a little chubbier than you'd like and rub together while you run. 
Example - See my thighs.

Rungry - The insatiable hunger that ensues immediately after a long run. Also occurs as you ramp up your mileage while training for a long distance race. 

Hangry - When you are beyond Rungry and so hungry you are angry, irritable, and just unpleasant to be around until food is in your belly!

PR - Personal Record (Seems Americans use this one more)

PB - Personal Best (Seems like the rest of the world uses this one)

5K - A 3.1 mile race

10K - A 6.2 mile race

15K - A 9.3 mile race

25K - A 15.5 mile race

Half Marathon - A 13.1 mile race

Marathon or Full Marathon - A 26.2 mile race

Ultra or Ultra Marathon - A race that is any distance longer than 26.2 miles. That means that my first marathon was technically an ultra coming in at 26.5 miles since I elected to do the extra detour. 

The Wall - The invisible force that jumps out and smacks you in the face as you are running a great race ultimately taking away any chance at a PR by making you super exhausted and tired all of a sudden. Often shows up when you've gone out too fast in a race.
Example - I hit the wall at mile 22 and it was all bad news from there! 

Skinny Up! - No, this doesn't mean go on a crash diet. It is a directive shouted out by a running coach letting you know the group is taking up too much of the road and you need to line up so you won't get hit by a car. Safety first kids!

Car Back! - A car is approaching your running group from behind you. Look out!

Biker Up! - A person on a bike is approaching you from the front, be aware and share the road!

Hole! - A runner yells this out who may be 10-15 feet ahead of you so you will know not to step in the hole in the ground and injure yourself. 

BQ - Boston Qualifier or Boston Qualify or Boston Qualified
Also means to run a marathon fast enough to meet the criteria to run the Boston Marathon. 

Little Potty - A polite way to tell your running group you have to urinate. 
Example - I need a little potty break.

Big Potty - A polite way to tell your running group you have to do the opposite of urinate. 
Example - Runner 1: I need to go to the bathroom. Runner 2: Do you need to go Little Potty or Big Potty?
Runner 1: Big Potty!

Bling - Another name for the finisher medal you get when you finish a race. 

Bib - The number you must wear when you run a race to help race directors keep track of who's who for safety and timing reasons. They are usually made of Tyvek material and are impossible to pin on your shirt without looking like a drunk toddler helped you. #AlwaysOffCenter 

Swag - The extra "free" stuff that you get when you register for a race. Sometimes they are awesome product samples, t-shirts, tech shirts, gloves, bags, water bottles, etc. 

Marathon Maniac - A club of maniacal marathon runners who run marathons.   A lot of marathons. Each Maniac is assigned a number and often they are displayed on social media like this:

Half Fanatic - A club of half crazy fanatical runners who don't go all the way. Also assigned an individual number like this:

The Course if Flat - A lie other runners or race directors tell you to make you falsely believe you can run this particular race with less effort than expected while aiming for a PR. 
Definition #2 - A vary rare phenomenon not seen very often in long distance races. Most runners equate a flat course to the existence of Unicorns, Big Foot, Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, and El Chupacabra. 

The Course is Hilly - A true description of most half marathon and full marathon courses. 
Definition #2 - The immediate description from every runner who has ever been lied to about a flat course. Also could be the reason many runners missed a PR. Example: I didn't get a PR because the course was so hilly!

Question! Leave a comment and tell me what terminology you use with your running buddies?



Too funny. Love it. Favorite was "looking like a drunk toddler helped you". Good cheat sheet.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:46pm

Glad you liked it! The drunk toddler comment was a last minute add in. Seems like it was good choice!

07/25/2016 12:13am

This is a really interesting enlightenment! I always knew each sport has their own language. But I never realized running to be at the top of that list. Little did I know that really a lot of strategic planning is involved in that sport. Thank you for sharing these enlightening pieces.

05/15/2014 7:16pm

So true!! Especially "the course is flat"... haha yeah right!

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:46pm

Right? Seems like very course that I have been on hasn't been flat even though other people swore it was! Liars! :)

05/15/2014 7:21pm

Awesome list! I'm glad you explained the "K" distances. I once had a non-runner (and bless his heart for showing interest) ask me if the race I was doing was a "full K." I assume he meant full marathon and didn't really know the difference! =D

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:47pm

Aww! That was precious of him! I very rarely correct people anymore when they talk about distances and have it wrong. If they ever decide to pick up running, they will figure it out. :)

05/15/2014 7:41pm

I always talk this way, and forget that regular people have no idea what I'm talking about.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:50pm

Right? After I read a few blogs (can't remember which one) I realized that my audience may not know all the exact same stuff I do so I started to try to define things a little better.

05/15/2014 8:57pm

This cracked me up!

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:50pm

Glad you liked it! It was fun to write! Maybe someday I'll do a 2.0 version and add to the list.

Don VanOteghem
05/16/2014 5:49pm

How far is a 2.0? Just kidding.

05/15/2014 9:09pm

That moment when your friends/family read this and STILL ask "Yeah, but so how far is THIS marathon you're doing?" ~facepalm~ Thanks for helping to educate the non-runners out there! :D

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/15/2014 10:52pm

LOL Exactly! Or when people tell you they have done tons of marathons before and then tell you it was about 3 miles... I just smile and tell them how awesome it is that they love to run! No need to burst their bubble! :)

05/15/2014 11:05pm

Literally laughing out loud! Flat!! #dontgoalltheway4552

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/16/2014 2:58pm

Glad you liked it! It was fun to write! :)

05/16/2014 3:46am


RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/16/2014 3:05pm

Glad you liked it! I totally got inspiration from you for the blog I posted today!

05/16/2014 5:23am

Ha! This is great. It drives me bananas when people say "Oh, Meri does MARATHONS." And I have to jump in and be like... "Well, technically, I do HALF marathons."

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/16/2014 2:59pm

Haha yeah I know the feeling! Maybe you should do a full and then they won't be wrong? :)

05/16/2014 9:35am

A run dictionary would not be complete without "snot rocket." The process of clearing the nasal passages by placing one finger over the nostril and proceeding to blow hard out the other nostril and directionally aiming the resulting projectile to a safe landing spot. Repeat with opposite nostril.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/16/2014 3:03pm

Oh yes, I forgot about that one! I'll save it for version 2.0!

05/16/2014 9:53am

LOVED your humor.. this kept me laughing and is so true!

RunGingerRun - Sarah
05/16/2014 3:04pm

So glad I can make people laugh at my silly humor. It makes me very happy!

05/17/2014 9:23am

Loved this! So funny!

05/17/2014 8:44pm


runcation--vacation taken with the destination chosen to fit in a race

05/21/2014 8:02am

When I first started reading blogs leading up to my first half marathon, the word "GU" confused me.

GU - the brand name of a company that makes nutrition products you eat for fuel during endurance events. The name GU is frequently used generically to mean anything from the whole category of on-the-move fuel, regardless of manufacturer or name.

05/23/2014 4:10pm

There are some words in there i never heard of before. But you should add sendem to the list. It means when you are excited for the other person for what ever reason. If you want them to go after it in a race... sendem. You got a new puppy... sendem. You had a oiece of awesome cheesecake... sendem. You gettin it? Lol

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