Common Running Abbreviations

Words Runners Use

Image via Brooke Kreder

What’s the difference between an ACL, MP, and VO2max?

Like many niche professions or pursuits, runner’s have a ‘language’ of their own that are often incomprehensible to outsiders or novice runners. Here is an introduction to the alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations that runners use.

ACL: Anterior Cruciate Ligament. One of the four major ligaments of the knee. An ACL tear is caused by over-stretching the knee’s ligament; it often occurs when an athlete rapidly stops or changes direction, causing the knee to buckle or lock.

AIMS: Association of International Marathons and Road Races. A member-based organization of more than 350 of the world’s leading distance races representing over 100 countries.

AT: Anaerobic Threshold. The phase between aerobic and anaerobic running. Also known as LT: lactate threshold.

BQ: Boston Qualify. When runners say they “BQ’d”, it means that they ran a Boston marathon qualifying time.

BPM: Beats Per Minute. The number of time a heart beats in minute.

C25K: Couch to 5K. A common beginner’s running program.

COC: Canadian Olympic Committee. The organization representing Canadian athletes in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Pan American Games.

CR: Course Record. The fastest recorded time on a specific running course.

DNF: Did Not Finish. Listed in race results when a racer started the race but did not finish it. Related terms include DNS: Did Not Start, is listed in race results when a racer signed up for a race but didn’t start it; and DNQDid not qualify. Another related term is DFL: Dead F@#king Last, an unofficial term that many runner’s wear with pride 😉

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Muscle soreness that occurs a day or two after an intense workout or long run.

FKT: Fastest Know Time. The fastest known times for a given trail or route.

GPS: Global Positioning System. A satellite navigation system that provides location and time information. A common feature in most running watches to record distance, pace a time during runs.

HR: Heart Rate. The number of contractions of the heart that occur in a single minute. HR is also used in these acronyms: MHR (HRmax): Maximum Heart Rate, useful to get 60% and 85% values for training effect; and HRR (HRres): Heart Rate Reserve, which is the difference between MHR and RHR: Resting Herat Rate (MHR–RHR = HRR). Some runners base training on percent of HRR instead of MHR.

HRR (HRres)Heart Rate Reserve. The difference between maximum heart rate and resting heart rate. Some methods of measurement of exercise intensity measure percentage of heart rate reserve.

HRM: Heart Rate Monitor. A personal monitoring device that measures heart rate.

IAAF: International Amateur Athletic Federation. The world-wide organization that governs running.

IOC: International Olympic Committee. The governing body of the modern Olympic movement.

ITBS: Illotibial Band Syndrome. A common overuse running knee injury.

KM: Kilometre. A metric measure of distance. It is sometimes abbreviated as simply K.

LSD: Long Slow Distance. LSD runs are a staple of training for a long distance race, especially half marathons or marathons.

MHR: Maximum Herat Rate. Another abbreviation for HRmax, the highest heart rate an individual can achieve without severe problems through exercise stress.

MP: Marathon Pace. A runner’s goal race pace for the marathon.

MPW: Miles/Mileage Per Week. The amount of miles you run each week. usually seen in training schedules. MPD: Miles per Day and MPM: Miles per Month, are also occasionally used.

MTSS: Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. The official term for ‘shin splints,’ a common injury, especially in new runners.

NR: National Record. The fastest certified time in a given country for a running event.

NRR: Not Running Related. Things not related to running. Often used when describing anon-running injury.

NSAID: Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug. Includes brand names like Advil, Aleve, and Motrin.

OR: Olympic Record. The fastest certified time in the Olympic Games for a running event.

PB: Personal Record. A runner’s best time at a specific race distance. For example, “My PR in the marathon is 3:47:50.” Some runners use PB (Personal Best) instead. A related term is PW (Personal Worst), a runner’s worst time at a specific distance.

RHRResting Heart Rate. The number of contractions of the heart that occur in a single minute while the body is at complete rest. This number will vary depending upon the age, gender, and general health of a person.

RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. The standard treatment for inflammation-type injuries.

RRCA: Road Runners Club of America. The oldest and largest American association of running clubs, running events, and runners dedicated to promoting running as a competitive sport and as healthy exercise.

SRD: Scheduled Rest Day. Recovery days included in your training schedule to prevent overtraining and allow the body to recovery and repair.

TM: Treadmill. Shorthand for a run completed on a treadmill.

USATF: USA Track and Field. The USA national governing body for the sport of track and field, including the marathon.

USOC: United States Olympic Committee. The National Olympic Committee for the United States.

VO2maxMaximal Oxygen Consumption. The maximal amount of oxygen that a person can extract from the atmosphere and then transport and use in the body’s tissues. Higher V02max generally equals better performance. VO2max can be improved with training but has a genetic limit.

WR: World Record. The fastest certified time in the world for a running event.

XC: Cross Country.Running events where teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain.

XT: Cross Train. Non-running activities that help improve overall fitness and performance.

Your Turn

Did you learn anything new from this list? Did I miss any abbreviations you’ve heard?

About Yuri

I'm Yuri and I'm in a hurry to lose weight, get fit, and have fun doing it! This blog is a chronicle of a once fat guy's journey to fitness while training for a marathon—and beyond. You'll also find running-related gear review, links and inspiration.
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  1. Pingback: What the Runner Says: A Running Lexicon (Part I)

  2. Pingback: What the Runner Says: A Running Lexicon (Part II) - Yuri in a Hurry

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