13 Things Only a Runner Would Say

Ashley Lauretta
by Ashley Lauretta
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13 Things Only a Runner Would Say

Runners have, shall we say, a unique perspective. To non-runners, a lot of it may sound crazy. In the spirit of unity, we decided to decode some of the most common runner-speak and do a little explaining as to just what the heck is going on in that runner friend’s head.

If you’re friends with a runner, chances are you hear this every Friday night. You know a Saturday night out is out of the question, too, because they’re too tired after their long run to rally. You are extra happy for them when they finally cross the finish line of that goal race — because it means you get your wingman back.

Runners know it doesn’t take long to lose the fitness they built, but for the rest of the world, being out of shape is a much different experience. Even with consistent running, all it takes is one bad run — after 10 amazing runs — for runners to feel out of shape.

To a non-runner, the idea of going out even for 2 miles seems like an accomplishment. Most distance runners, however, are often in training mode for a half- or full-marathon, which means an easy day of running falls between 5–7 miles. The next time your runner-friend says this to you, just smile and nod.

Any marathoner will tell you that only doing the half is a blessing. Anyone else who hears this sentence? Well, let’s just say it’s OK to think it sounds crazy to characterize running 13.1 miles as “only.”

This sounds horrifying, we know. It happens — especially from running too much mileage or wearing shoes that don’t fit quite right — and it’s best just not to look. Before the toenail falls off it will usually be badly bruised or black, so if your friend requests black nailpolish during your next pedicure outing, you know what they are trying to hide.

In the running world, BQ stands for Boston-qualifier. The Boston Marathon has become the holy grail of racing and once you’ve qualified, you feel like you’ve truly made it. Every year the qualification standards become harder and harder and many runners who run a qualifying time won’t make it in because of the sheer number of runners who qualify and register each year.

If you’ve ever asked a runner what shoes they recommend, you’ve probably gotten this answer. It probably seemed super unhelpful at the time, but it’s actually great advice (we promise). During a gait analysis, a shoe professional will actually watch your feet to see how they land and move as they hit the ground. Based on your foot shape and movement, they will recommend a few shoes that will work for your foot type. It sounds silly and convoluted, but it is what helps runners avoid injury down the line.


Yes, people go to The Happiest Place on Earth for more than a glimpse at Mickey Mouse. Both Disneyland and Disney World have multiple themed races throughout the year, which get you early access into the park to run by attractions before any guests have arrived. It may seem crazy to run a half-marathon through Disney and then spend the day navigating crowds and lines, but thousands of people do it every year.

A fartlek is a common speed workout. It either sounds totally made up or totally inappropriate but, in fact, a fartlek is a Swedish term for speed play. Intervals are based on something somewhat unstructured — like running faster during the chorus of your favorite song, then running slower to recover in between.

In the running world, chafing is a very real problem. So much so that male runners often put tape over their nipples to avoid a very uncomfortable — and potentially bloody — situation. Tape alternatives include: Vaseline or Body Glide rubbed on any chafe-prone areas, such as nipples and thighs, to prevent a lot of pain later.

If you ever see a runner on the side of the road holding their running watch into the air with a frustrated look, they’re waiting for their GPS watch to find a satellite signal. (The worst? When it goes out mid-run.)

For most people — especially those trying to lose weight — carbs are to be avoided. Runners, however, can’t get enough before a race … and will probably ask for extra servings of bread and pasta.

It’s very common to see a runner wearing a long-sleeve shirt, a hat, gloves … and shorts. If you ever see piles of discarded clothes and gloves at the beginning of a race, that’s just when runners began to heat up — even in the coldest temperatures. All a runner needs is a trash bag to stay warm before they get moving or after a race.


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About the Author

Ashley Lauretta
Ashley Lauretta

Ashley is a journalist based in Austin, Texas. She is the assistant editor at LAVA and her work appears in The Atlantic, ELLE, GOOD Sports, espnW, VICE Sports, Health, Men’s Journal, Women’s Running and more. Find her on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.


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