Another Mother Runner

Five Vocab Words Every Runner Must Know

Most running vocabulary words are sport-specific—tempo, splits, GPS, chafe—but these five universal terms can be much more effective than any workout or piece of gear. Heed them, and your running will be more solid and strong.

Respect yourself enough to turn down commitments that would leave you with no time or energy for yourself—or your running. Then bring along that self-respect when you head out; respect every ligament, tendon, bone and muscle propelling you forward. If one is crying, pull up. Finally, self-respect means honoring your own effort on every run and especially every race. There will always be somebody faster/stronger/leaner/(fill in adjective that you think you’re not) than you. Good for them—but more importantly, good for you. (And if the check-fuel light is on in your self-respect tank, go for a run. It'll automatically refill it.)

Missing a training run, or two, during a cat-is-barfing-and-everybody-else-has-strep-throat week won’t hurt your running. Taking weeks or months off because you’re too stressed/wiped/bloated, however, will. And the last thing you’ll want to do is start running again, because let’s face it: Starting over sucks. Being consistent wears a groove in your brain that makes it crave regular runs, which takes a little pressure off the whole motivation thing. It’s just not so hard to get out the door. So next time you press snooze four times, making you miss a third of your 60-minute run, don’t flake on the rest of your run: Get up and go.

We’re not talking about the kind of patience that stops you from sighing loudly in the long supermarket checkout line—although that’s not a bad thing—but this style of patience you need runs deeper than that: It’s the stoicism to accept the fact a stress fracture doesn’t mend overnight or plantar fasciitis won’t disappear without taking at least a few weeks off. It’s the self-restraint you need to sign up for a 10K and a half marathon (or two) before you register for that marathon it seems all your friends (and neighbors) are running. It’s the patience to be kind to yourself when you want to resume running 10-minute miles, but your running watch won’t budge from 11:00s (and your 4-month-old refuses to sleep through the night). Remember: Good things come to those who wait—or, better yet, keep trying.

We usually associate “stubborn” with a two-year-old who wants to do everything, “self, mama, self,” but STUBBORNNESS has a positive connotation here. You have to be stubborn enough not to allow yourself to flake on training. (See Consistency.) You have to be stubborn enough not to listen to people who wonder why you run because they think, “you don’t look like a runner.” (And quick-witted enough to come up with a really great comeback: Let us know if you have one.) Stubborn enough to not stop at 7 miles when the plan calls for 9. Stubborn enough to keep pressing on the gas pedal at mile 12 in a half marathon when you really, really want to walk. Be stubborn so that you can be part of this special running math: you + stubborn + running = crazy pride.

5. JOY
Okay, we know you’re not finishing every run with an ear-to-ear grin and a Pollyanna attitude. (Heck, we’d settle for that feeling once every month.) But there needs to be some aspect of joy in your running, or else you’ll quit—and we don’t want that, right? Maybe it’s the time with your gossipy friends that brings you joy. Maybe it’s the knowledge that you are 100 percent, totally in control—no partner, child, four-legged, in-law, boss to answer to—that brings you joy. Maybe it’s being able to figuratively flip your (beer-bellied) high school crush the bird at your 20-year high school reunion. Maybe it’s that first sip of wine at 5 p.m., knowing you did 5 miles at 5 a.m., that brings you joy. Whatever it is, seize that feeling when you’re not feeling respectful, consistent, patient or stubborn. And then go chase that joy.

If you’ve got a topic you’d like us to cover or question you’d like us to answer, let us know at @TheMotherRunner or on our Facebook page. Thanks and many happy miles!

Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.