Track Talk – A Beginners Guide to Running Language

by Can Too Foundation 07 Feb 2017

Learning how to run may sound pretty simple and with the help of our experienced, qualified coaches — it is!

Sometimes, however all the track talk can be a little confusing — especially if you’re new to running. To help you understand run jargon, we’ve put together the below list of running definitions our coaches use, so next time your coach tells you to Kick, you don’t bruise any shins or ego’s. 


Running Definitions


Personal Best. We will do PBs along the way over 5kms.


Means go faster. For example, 1000m with a 400m kick means increase the speed over the last 400m. It may hurt!!!


The pace usually increases during a tempo run. A 30 minute tempo run may mean 16 mins @ 60% pace, then 8 minutes at 80% and then 6 minutes at 60%.

60% means percentage of what you could do for any given distance or time. 60% is comfortable whereas 80% is medium.


Means timing a set distance. We do Benchmark's once per month. Usually done @ 100%, but can also be done @ 60 or 80% to measure easy or medium pace.


Means the pace per kilometre (km) that you intend to race at. For example 6min/km means it will take 60 minutes to complete 10km’s. We train for race pace leading up to the race. As the training program progresses, you will get a clearer idea of what your race pace will be.


Refers to the pace. 2000m build may be 800m @ 70%, 800m @ 80%, 400m @ 90%.


This means you do the 2nd half of a distance race faster than the 1st half. World records are usually set this way & this is a major goal for all.


Run at 60% = lots of talking.


Run at 70 – 80% = less talking, but you should still be able to string sentences together.


Run at 90%. This makes you faster, but can also make you injured so you need to be careful.


A Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquillity. A system of exercises practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind.


The ability to attain and maintain proper alignments of proximal body parts during movement, in order to heighten the efficiency of distal body parts. In short — strong stomach, abs, chest & hips will allow your legs to unleash their power. Strong core body reduces injury.


A method of physical and mental exercise involving stretches and breathing that focus on strengthening the abdominal core.


Bike, swim, cross-trainer, rower or any cardio vascular training except running.


At the track. Run at 70- 90% on the straights and jog slowly on the curves. Focus on good form on the straights.


Often done at the beginning or end of a session. Start at 20%, 40%, 60% , 80%. Enable us to use fast twitch muscles and eliminate lactic acid. They facilitate recovery — at the beginning for getting muscles ready — at the end for recovery).


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