The Encyclopedia of Runningness (part two)

Apparently, eight words just isn’t enough for an encyclopedia these days. I tell you, it’s political correctness gone mad. So after spending some more time in the library of the Faculty of Running About at Pretend University in Swindon, I can now bring you the second installment…

Hills

Some of you might already know what these are – the knobbly fellows that sometimes pop up during a run to make your legs fall off. In my limited but swear-filled forays into hill running I’ve developed the uncanny ability to gauge my altitude just by measuring the saltiness of my tears.

Energy gel

These packets of fruity goo provide a quick hit of carbohydrates, which comes in handy on a longer run when your glycogen levels start to get depleted and The Wall looms. Some also have caffeine in them for an added boost, and most taste like cough medicine. I’ve found that if I carry twenty or so gels on my belt and nibble a cheese sandwich while running, most people mistake me for an ultra runner and don’t bat an eyelid at my slow pace or haunted expression.

Running clubs

I keep promising to join my local running club, but I haven’t got round to it yet so I’ll have to base this all on speculation. I know they like wearing vests. And running. I’m guessing there might be some element of secret handshaking and singing the club anthem at the start of every run.

Ultra Marathon

Technically, any run over 26.2 miles is an ultra-marathon, but some of the biggies are 100 miles or more. As well as the insane mileage, Ultra running is also renowned for its tight-knit inclusive atmosphere, with friendships forged in sweat.

Well, that and the chafing.

Gadgets

To some runners (i.e. me), gadgets are as essential as trainers or knees. GPS watches, head torches, hydration systems, wrist-mounted elk detectors, the list is endless. I sometimes think that my 5k time would be considerably faster if I weren’t pushing a wheelbarrow of shiny technology in front of me like I’d just ram-raided Currys.

Taper

A large pig-shaped mammal indigenous to South America.

Sorry.

Also the period before a long race when you cut out or greatly reduce exercise, thereby giving your body a chance to rest and prepare itself by renewing its stores of glycogen and other running soup. A typical taper will last for around a week or two, but my training regime often resembles one big taper, which surely means I’m some sort of super-athlete.

Barefoot running

Normal running, but for people who aren’t afraid of dog poo.

Trail running

Normal running, but for people who aren’t afraid of deer poo.

Fell running

Trail running with more cagoules and Kendal mint-cake.

Negative split

When you pace yourself so that the second half of a race is quicker than the first. It’s generally accepted that the negative split is a good strategy, albeit easier said than done. It also fits neatly onto my list of “things that are a bit too serious to think about during a run and which distract me from more important stuff like looking at clouds and grinning like an idiot”.

Banana split

If you finish a marathon with a banana split it doesn’t mean you’ve done well, it means you’ve taken a wrong turn and may have just ruined a child’s birthday party.

 

Keep the suggestions coming for the next installment, and don’t forget you can chase me around on twitter @borntoplodblog

 

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One thought on “The Encyclopedia of Runningness (part two)

  1. ################
    Energy Gels

    I’ve found that if I carry twenty or so gels on my belt and nibble a cheese sandwich while running, most people mistake me for an ultra runner and don’t bat an eyelid at my slow pace or haunted expression.
    ################

    That’s going on a motivational poster right now.

    Oddly, it’s also my training strategy for my first ultra in June, although with less cheese and more uncooked falafel, as you’re not an ultra-runner unless you’re a raw-food vegan. Apparently.

    Luckily I’ve got such a stressful life that I’ve got the haunted expression sorted already. Currently cultivating a patchy beard for that “ultra runner on the edge” look.

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