Technical Terms, Injuries and Prevention

GlossaryInjury Prevention

Chapter 1
Get Running Smarts

It is a period of intensive running.

Technical Terms in Marathon Racing

Here is a list of common terms used in Running:

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Shortest sprint race
10,000 meters; 10 kilometers; 6.2 miles
3 3/4 laps of track; called the "metric mile"; 1 mile = 1609 meters
15,000 meters; 15 kilometers; 9.3 miles
2 miles
Approximately 8 laps of track; 3218m
Half a lap of track
1.864 miles
Dietary regimen where a runner gets 40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from fats and 30% from protein
1 lap around track, also called a "quarter"
5,000 meters; 5 Kilometers; 3.1 miles
Approximately a half-mile; 2 laps around track
4.97 miles
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With oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of low to moderate intensity
Aerobic Capacity
Also called VO2max; maximum amount of oxygen that can be utilized by the body; also describes a type of training that increases the amount of oxygen that can be utilized, i.e., Aerobic Capacity Intervals
Aerobic Conditioning
Training that improves endurance
Without oxygen; usually used to describe exercise of high to very high intensity
Anaerobic Capacity
Maximum amount of energy that can be produced without requiring oxygen; also describes a type of training that increases the amount of energy that can be produced, i.e., Anaerobic Capacity Intervals
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Roger Bannister
The first person to break 4 minutes for the mile
Study of the function of the body in relation to movement; especially important for repetitive movement sports like running; poor biomechanics can lead to injury
Body Composition
Usually relating to the percent of the body comprised of lean tissue (bone, muscle, water, etc.) or fat tissue; 17% or less body fat is recommended for men; 24% or less body fat is recommended for women
Another term like "hitting the wall"; a state of exhaustion when glycogen stores are depleted, blood glucose (sugar) levels are low and the only exercise that can be performed is slow running; typically occurs at around the 20 mile point in the marathon
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The dietary practice of eating a high carbohydrate diet (approximately 60-70% of total calories) for the three days leading up to a race to maximally fill the glycogen stores
Essential nutrient of body found in pastas, breads, fruits, vegetables; should comprise the majority of calories in a runner's diet; stored in the body as glycogen in the muscles and liver; overconsumption is converted to fat
Slow, easy running done after a workout to help you recover more quickly
Activities such as swimming and cycling that are used to increase conditioning and injury prevention for running or as a means of adding variety to workout schedule
Cruise Intervals
Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold; usually repetitions of 800 meters to 2-miles performed at the lactate threshold speed with short recoveries
The ability of a shoe to minimize the shock of running; while all running shoes have cushioning, highly cushioned shoes are usually designed for under-pronators (or supinators) who need additional shock absorption and maximum flexibility
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Not having enough fluids in the body
Stands for "did not finish" and describes a runner who drops out of a race
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Easy Run
A slow run done at a conversational pace
Minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium that are used for normal bodily functions. These minerals are lost when the body sweats and are replaced through food and fluids.
Chemicals in the brain which create a feeling of euphoria; said to be the cause of the "runner's high"
Your ability to run for long periods of time
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Swedish word for speedplay; workout includes faster running mixed with slower running; adds variety to training and can be performed in any setting
Fast Twitch
Type of muscle fiber (cells which compose the muscles) which contract rapidly and powerfully but fatigue quickly
Essential nutrient of body found in oils and meats; should comprise approximately 30% of calories in a runner's diet; overconsumption leads to increases in body fat; can be of three types: saturated, poly-unsaturated, and mono-unsaturated
Used to describe an exercise intensity which burns the most fat; science is still debating the appropriate intensity for maximal fat-burning; note: burning fat at the highest rate does not necessarily correspond to burning calories at the highest rate
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Basic sugar; form of sugar into which all carbohydrates are first converted and appear in the blood
The form in which carbohydrates are stored in the body; there are two main stores of glycogen - the liver and the muscles; when glycogen stores are depleted athletes fatigue, "hit the wall", "bonk"; stores can be maximally filled by eating a high carbohydrate diet leading up to an event
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13.1 miles; 21.1K
804.5 meters; approximately 2 laps around track
Hamstring Strain
Micro-tears of the large muscles of the back of the thigh; can be treated by ice and stretching and strengthening exercises
Heart Rate
Contraction of the heart usually measured as beats per minute
Heart Rate Monitor
A device that measures the electrical activity of the heart (heart rate); usually consists of a chest strap and watch-like wrist receiver
Workouts where a runner runs up a hill fast and jogs down then runs up again; helps develop leg power and aerobic capacity
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International Amateur Athletic Federation; world-wide organization that governs running
The removable inner part of a running shoe that sits on top of the midsole and provides cushioning and arch support
Degree of effort or exertion
Type of workout where a set distance is run repeatedly with a recovery jog between; for example 6 times 400 meters with 100 meters recovery jog
International Olympic Committee; world-wide organization which governs the Olympic Games
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Junk Miles
Runs used to reach a weekly or monthly mileage total rather than for a specific benefit
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A finishing sprint at the end of a race
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Lactate Threshold
The running intensity where lactic acid begins to rapidly accumulate in the blood. Also called anaerobic threshold; lactate threshold speed is your 10K race pace plus 5-20 seconds or a heart rate zone between 85-89% of maximum
Lactic Acid
A by-product of the body's use of carbohydrates; usually associated with muscle stiffness and burn after a hard workout
A record of your training and running that helps you stay motivated, monitor your progress and spot trends in your running
Long Runs
Longest run of the week; usually on the weekend
Long, slow distance; slow running designed to improve endurance
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26.2 miles; 42.2K
A runner 40 years of age or older
Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax)
The highest number of contractions your heart can make in one minute
Metric Mile
1500m, the international racing distance closest to the imperial mile; see "1500m"
A tightly woven fabric that's extremely lightweight and soft; notable for its wind and water resistance, ability to wick moisture and quick dry time
1609 meters; approximately 4 laps around track
Essential nutrient of body; must be ingested in the correct amounts in the body; aid in the processes which use the other nutrients and compose some of the structures of the body; may be obtained through diet or supplementation; overconsumption can be toxic
Motion Control
The ability of a shoe to limit overpronation and provide stability
Muscle Soreness
Pain, stiffness, and soreness in a muscle due to microscopic tears of the muscle usually due to doing more work than the muscle is used to (also called DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness)
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Negative Splits
Running the second half of a race faster than the first half
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Competition held once every 4 years; highest goal for most runners
Inserts placed inside shoes to correct biomechanical problems
Condition when runner trains too much too soon and leads to fatigue, injury and/or burn-out
Oxygen Debt
A state where the energy demand is greater than what can be provided by oxygen thus inducing heavy breathing to consume more oxygen
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Measure of the speed of running; usually quantified as minutes taken to run a mile; for example a runner may run a 6:52 per mile pace for a marathon
Plantar Fasciitis
Foot injury where there are micro-tears of the arch; especially painful in the morning; can be treated by stretching the arch and calves; massage with hands or rubbing foot on golf ball or shaving cream can; if untreated can lead to heel spurs (spur of bone from the heel bone)
Scheduling your training so that your best performance is timed for a goal race or event
Personal Record or Personal Best; fastest time a runner has run for a given distance
Prefontaine, Steve
The best American distance runner in history; known for his ferocious competitiveness; killed in car crash at the age of 24 in 1975; two movies have been made of his short career
Essential nutrient of body found in meats, eggs, dairy products, beans and nuts; should comprise approximately 15-25% of calories in a runner's diet; converted into the body's structures-bones, muscles, organs, etc.; overconsumption is converted to fat
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Jargon for a quarter mile or 400 meters; often used when describing workouts where runners run 400-meter (or quarter) repeats
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Recovery Runs
Slow to moderate running to recover from hard workouts or races and/or maintain aerobic conditioning
See "Intervals"
Resting Heart Rate
The number of times your heart beats per minute when you are relaxed and still; usually measured first thing in the morning before getting out of bed
An acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation; a procedure for treating certain injuries
A term used to describe a shoe's ability to smoothly transfer a runner's weight from heel-strike to toe-off
Road Races
Running contests over streets; all runners can participate
Rodgers, Bill
"Boston Billy"; has won the prestigious Boston and New York City marathons each 4 times
Road Runners Clubs of America; organization to which most running clubs in the US belong; provide information and resources for running clubs
Runner's High
Feeling of euphoria some runners feel after a long, hard run or race (see Endorphins)
Runner's Knee
Knee pain usually caused by the knee cap not sliding properly during movement; may be related to muscular imbalances within the thigh muscles; can be treated with strengthening exercises for weak muscles (usually the inner thigh muscle)
Running Economy
The amount of oxygen consumed at a given running speed; a runner who consumes less oxygen at this running speed as compared to another running is said to be more "economical"
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Samuelson, Joan
1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in the marathon; American marathon record holder
Second Wind
Feeling of more energy and less effort some runners feel after 15-20 minutes of running
Shorter, Frank
1972 Olympic Gold Medalist in the marathon; his victory spurred the running boom of the 1970's
A light weight tank top worn by runners
Slow Twitch
Type of muscle fiber (cells which compose the muscles) which contract slowly but can perform for a long time
Speed Work
Short, fast intervals with recovery jogs between; increases your leg turnover and maximizes your stamina and race confidence
Split Times
Denotes the time it takes to run a portion of a total run (often measured at mile markers or other distinctive points along the way); for example, a runner may run a 7:00 mile split between miles 4 and 5 of a 10K (6.2-mile run)
Your ability to combine speed and endurance
Strength Training
Movements against resistance to develop muscular strength; usually weight training/lifting weights
Movements designed to increase a muscle's flexibility; best method is still being debated but it appears that consistently stretching is the key to increasing flexibility
Short, fast but controlled runs lasting 15-45 seconds followed by full recovery; benefits include faster leg turnover and improvements in running form
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Reducing your mileage several days to three weeks before an important race to ensure peak performance on race day
Tempo Runs
Type of workout to improve the lactate threshold; usually consists of 15-30 minutes of running at the lactate threshold speed
Measured oval where races of varying distances are contested; usually measure 400 meters around; 4 laps equals approximately 1 mile
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Races longer than a marathon (26.2 miles)
USA Track & Field
National governing body for running in the US
United States Olympic Committee; US organization that governs the Olympic Games
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Essential nutrient of body; must be ingested in the correct amounts in the body; aid in the processes which use the other nutrients; may be obtained through diet or supplementation; overconsumption can be toxic
Also called maximal aerobic capacity; maximum amount of oxygen that can be utilized by the body; higher V02max generally equals better performance; can be improved with training but has a genetic limit
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The Wall or Hitting the Wall
A state of exhaustion when your body runs out of glycogen or energy; usually around the 20 mile point in a marathon (also "Bonk")
Slow, easy running before a workout or race that raises your heart rate and prepares you for more intense activity
Essential nutrient of body; runners should drink enough throughout the day to maintain clear urine and enough after a run to return to their pre-run body weights
The ability of a fiber to move moisture from your skin to the surface of the fabric so that it can evaporate and keep you more comfortable
Williams, Todd
Currently one of the top US distance runners; American record holder at 15K; 2-time Olympian
World Championships
Running and track and field championships held once every 2 years; almost as prestigious as the Olympics
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Tips to avoid Common Running Injuries

Here is an overview of tips to prevent the most common injury problems runners incur in Marathon Training

  1. Listen to your body
    • don't ignore pain
    • a little soreness ok
    • consistent pain in muscle or joint, that doesn't get better with rest
    • see doctor
  2. Create a running plan
    • check out resources on line
    • get a trainer
    • create running plan adapted to fitness level
    • long-term running goals
  3. Warm-up and stretch
    • many injuries occur inadequate stretching
    • before and after, stretch muscles thoroughly
    • especially calf, hamstring, groin and quadriceps
  4. Strength train
    • add weight training and ab exercise
    • strengthens muscles and develops core strength
  5. Cross train
    • rowing machine, spinning, elliptical, ergometer
    • swim, bike, cross country skiing
  6. Dress appropriatley
    • wear lightweight, breathable, clothing that wicks moisture from the skin
    • dress in layers, wear a hat to protect from sun and cold
  7. Shoe smart
    • proper fitting socks and shoes with good support
    • if required consider using orthotic shoe inserts

Diagnosis of Common Running Injuries

Here is an overview of the most common injury problems runners incur in Marathon Training

  1. Runner's knee
    • overuse injury, kneecap out of alignment
    • pain around kneecap
      1. going up or down stairs
      2. squatting
      3. sitting with knee bent for long time
    • cartillage around kneecap wears off
  2. Stress fracture
    • small crack in bone that causes pain and discomfort
    • affected parts: shin and feet
    • pain gets worse with activity and improves with rest
    • rest important, continued stress on bone can lead to more serious injuries
  3. Shin splint
    • pain in front side of lower leg, the shin bone(tibia)
    • occur when change in activity such as running longer distances, increasing number days run too quickly
    • treatment
      1. rest
      2. stretching
      3. slow return to activity after several weeks
  4. Achilles Tendinitis
    • inflammation of large tendon that attaches calf to back of heel
    • pain and stiffness in tendon during activity and in mornings
    • due to increase in running distance too quickly
    • rest, ice area, calf stretches
  5. Muscle pull
    • small tear in muscle, muscle strain often caused ny overstretching
    • feel a popping sensation when muscle tears
    • RICE => rest, ice, compression, elevation
    • muscles affected
      1. hamstrings
      2. quadriceps
      3. calf
      4. groin
  6. Ankle sprain
    • stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding ankle
    • occurs when foot twists or rolls inward
    • get better with rest, ice, compression and elevation
  7. Plantar fasciitis
    • inflammation of plantar fascia
    • thick band of tissue that extends from heel to toes
    • linked to increase in activity or no identifiable reason
    • calf stretches, rest, icing bottom of foot
  8. Illiotibial band syndrome(ITBS)
    • pain outside of knee
    • ligament runs on outside from top of hip to outside of knee
    • decrease amount of exercise
    • heat and stretch prior to exercise
    • icing area after exercise
  9. Blisters
    • fluid filled sacks on surface of skin
    • caused by friction between shoes, socks and skin
    • start using new shoes gradually, wear socks with double layers, apply petroleum jelly
  10. Temperature related injuries
    • sunburn
    • heat exhaustion
    • frostbite
    • hypothermia
    • prevented by dressing appropriately, staying hydrated, using sunscreen

Racing techniques

To achieve desired results, it's best to have a running strategy for the race