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Lessons in Trail Running Jargon

Extreme running jargon developed through experiencing the sport firsthand.

Extreme running jargon developed through experiencing the sport firsthand.

Because every sport has some vocabulary and slang terms that are unique, OutsideOnLine.com  recently published an article by Meagan Brown who put together some lessons in trail running jargon. I think it’s important to be aware of the specific lingo that runners use because it provides fundamental backdrop for which beginners can learn more about extreme running and communicate with others in the sport.

Lessons in Trail Running Jargon

EURO-HIKING: A good way to execute a climb. Basically an uphill power walk, except that you keep a hand on each quad and press down a bit with each step.

FUEL: Calories, usually in the form of sugar or some gooey concoction like brown rice syrup and artificial flavoring. Yum.

FKT: Setting a non-race speed record (fastest known) time on some particular route, (e.g. Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, trans-Zion, etc.).

HYPONATREMIA: An electrolyte imbalance that typically occurs when the body’s sodium concentration is lower than normal, causing tissues to swell dangerously. While ultrarunners definitely worry about dehydration, overhydration in the case of extreme physical activity is also something to be mindful of.

MICRO-TRASH: The wrappers and other debris often left behind on the trail in the act of fueling.

MINIMALIST SHOES: Shoes designed with little or no support and no stability control. Arguments in favor: They’re closer to the natural way humans have been running for centuries (barefoot). Arguments opposed: Running long distances without some support takes its toll on the body. If you’re curious, try ‘em. You’ll probably know right away whether or not they’re going to work for you.

PACER: A very good friend who runs with you for part of a 100+ race. The use of pacers is a topic of some contention among ultrarunners (Karl Meltzer is fundamentally opposed, while others rarely race without one). Though the debate could certainly go either way, with some of the more difficult races, having a pacer is more of a security blanket than anything else. Someone to make sure you don’t deliriously wander off the trail or freeze to death on some remote section of the course.

Of course a few lessons in trail running jargon won’t make you an expert, but at least you will feel comfortable discussing a experience with other runners and you’ll understand more of what they share with you. That’s a good place to start!

Another good place to start learning from experienced runners is on our Facebook Page…

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