Running is so fun – and one of the ways to keep it fun is to enter road races. It doesn’t matter if you are a fast runner or not. Road races are a great way to test your abilities, see how you improve with your running and really it can be a social affair. Many runners have friends that they only see at road races.
If you are a beginning runner – and road racer – you may be confused by some of the terminology. Let’s go over some road racing terms.
First of all – you may not know exactly what a "K" is. You hear about 5K’s, 10K’s, etc. K means kilometer and there are 1.609344 kilometers in a mile. So, a 5K race is 3.1 miles and a 10K race is 6.2 miles. These are the two biggest uses of "K’s" when you begin to race.
When you enter a race – you may read that they have "chip timing". This simply means that the race will time you by a chip that they give you. The chip will measure your time from the starting line to the finish line. Chips used to be tied onto your show – but many races now are incorporating into your bibs.
Which brings us to another word – bib. No, they don’t think that you’ll be drooling as you run! The bib is your number. This is what you pin onto the front of you with your individual number.
You may hear that runners taper before a race. This means that you cut back on the mileage that you are running before race day so that you will be fresh on the big day. How long you cut back is dependent on the length you are running. A marathoner, for instance, will taper for a longer period of time than one running a 5K.
Splits your times at specific intervals – usually at miles. Your split times are how fast you are running each mile. You will also hear negative splits. This means that you are running the second half of a race faster than the first half. And, this time – negative is a good thing!
A kick is what you hope to have as you cross the finish line! This means that you start running a little faster as you reach the line – another good thing to do if you can!
There are more words that you may hear tossed around as you start thinking about running a road race. However, these are the ones that you will hear the most. Hopefully, this cleared up any confusion that you may have had.