Google Translate for Runners

We runners are a different breed. We have our own language, our own sense of humor, our own little quirks that add subtle nuances to the running vernacular. Below is a guide to common phrases used by runners—and the true meanings behind the expressions. You could call it a Google Translate of sorts. You know, for the running crowd. 

“So, what pace are you hoping to run?”
Translation: “Are you competition?” 

“Oh, you’re from around here? What school did you go to? What year did you graduate?”
Translation: “Are you in my age group?” 

“Me too!”
Translation: “You’re in my age group and I hate you.” 

“So, what’s your PR?”
Translation: “I’m comparing myself to you, and suddenly my confidence in my own ability is somehow related to your best time.” 

“Wow! That is really fast.”
Translation: “I didn’t think you were that fast.” 

“Wow! That’s awesome.”
Translation: “I thought you were faster.” 

“My training hasn’t been great.”
Translation: “Training has been my life for the past eighteen weeks.” 

“I’m just hoping to finish.”
Translation: “I will PR or die.” 

“Nice to meet you! Good luck!”
Translation: “My new goal in life is to beat you in this race.” 

“I’ll try to hang with you as long as I can.”
Translation: “I will drive you into the ground.” 

“I hit the wall hard. I don’t think I fueled properly.”
Translation: “I went out too fast.” 

“I don’t know what happened.”
Translation: “I went out too fast.” 

“I was on pace for the first twenty miles, but then I hit the wall. Training wasn’t great. I’ve been battling an injury. And I just got over being sick. Guess it all caught up to me.”
Translation: “I went out too fast.” 

“I’m just running this race for fun.”
Translation: “My eternal happiness hinges on the outcome of this race.” 

“Yeah, I did twenty this morning.”
Translation: “Can you believe I just ran twenty freakin’ miles? I’m amazing.” 

“I’m starving!”
Translation: “I’m hungry because I just ran twenty freakin’ miles. I’m amazing.” 

“My hamstrings got a little tight.”
Translation: “I’ve lost the ability to bend at the waist.” 

“My Achilles has been acting up lately.”
Translation: “About ten weeks ago, I blew out my Achilles, but I’m still running on it.” 

“I took some time off to let it heal.”
Translation: “I didn’t run last Thursday.” 

“Yeah, I’ll get it looked at after the race.”
Translation: “I will wait for it to go away on its own.” 

“Yeah, I should probably see a doctor.”
Translation: “I will not see a doctor.” 

“I get irritable if I don’t run.”
Translation: “If I don’t run, I may or may not become homicidal.” 

“Yeah, I enjoy running.”
Translation: “Let’s hope I never have to choose between running and my firstborn.” 

“You run, too? That’s awesome. What distances do you like to race?”
Translation: “I sense a potential threat to my age group/gender placement.” 

“That’s right at my pace!”
Translation: “It’s on, buddy. Bring it.” 

“I’m not training for anything right now.”
Translation: “I’m always training.” 

“Today was a recovery run, so I didn’t even pay attention to pace.”
Translation: “I know exactly how slow I ran, but I refuse to tell you because it is not representative of my ability.” 

“Today is a light day, so I’m probably going to run six or eight.”
Translation: “I’m going to run six miles. But I usually run further. Why couldn’t you have asked me how far I ran yesterday after my long run?” 

“The race went really well. I felt good.”
Translation: “I had the race of my life. Please ask for details. I want to tell you how awesome I am.” 

“The race didn’t go well. But it happens, you know?”
Translation: “No, you don’t know. You will never, ever be able to comprehend how awful it was. I cried. I puked. I walked. I had diarrhea. My body hates me. The sport hates me. The world hates me. I trained for four months for this? WHY ME? WHY? 

“I think I just need to take a break from training for a while.”
Translation: “I’ve already signed up for my next race.”

“It was really hot.”
Translation: “You don’t understand how hot it was.” 

“It was really windy.”
Translation: “You don’t understand how windy it was.” 

“It was really hilly.”
Translation: “You don’t understand how hilly it was.” 

“I pushed hard the last two hundred meters. I almost peed my pants!”
Translation: “I totally peed my pants.” 

“Yes, we should meet up for coffee tomorrow morning!’
Translation: “After I run.” 

“Yes, let’s take the kids to the zoo on Saturday!”
Translation: “After I run.” 

“I need to pick up some more GU.”
Translation: “I’m one gel packet away from an episode of Hoarders.” 

“….point two. Twenty-six point two.”
Translation: “Seriously. Forget the ‘point two’ one more time, and I’ll be forced to punch you.” 


Amy L. Marxkors is the author of The Lola Papers: Marathons, Misadventures, and How I Became a Serious RunnerHer second book, Powered By Hope: The Teri Griege Storywill be released in 2014.  Click here to receive Amy's weekly article via email. 

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