Running A-Z: A is for Acronyms (Running Acronyms Decoded)

Welcome to the first edition of a new series called Running A-Z. Each week I will cover a new running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. I'll confess that I have not yet planned the topics for each letter over the next 25 weeks. I will write these blog posts each week and hope that I don't get caught up on some of the tricky letters. Like X. Oh, wait. XT - Cross Training. I got this! Speaking of XT, do you ever get confused by all those running acronyms? 

A is for Acronyms

Whether you are a new or an experienced runner, chances are at some point you've been confused while reading a running-related article because it was littered with running acronyms. You may have thought to yourself, what the heck is a BQ, DNF or LSD? Let me help you clear it up! Here are translations of some common running acronyms.

BRF - Best Running Friend

BRF is like a BFF except for in running. It's your best running friend. 

"A lot comes out in those 12 mile training runs. My BRF knows more about my pre-run bowel movements than my significant other." 

BQ – Boston Qualify

When runners say they ran a BQ or they are trying to BQ, it means that they ran or are hoping to run a Boston marathon qualifying time. In order to submit an entry to run the Boston marathon you have to first meet their qualifying times for your age and sex

"I am training hard in order to BQ at my next half marathon."

DNF – Did Not Finish

DNF is used in race results when a runner started the race but did not cross the finish line. It is unfortunate, but it happens to the best of us. 

"It was a tough race. It was my first DNF, but I knew it was the right decision for my body to leave the course that day."

DNS - Did Not Start

A little less common, but DNS may be listed in race results when a runner was entered in a race but didn't start it.


LSD - Long Slow Distance

Runners may refer to their weekly long runs as LSD. Long slow distances are typically part of half marathon and marathon training. A runner new to long distances should run 45 seconds to 90 seconds per mile slower than usual to reduce impact on the body and recover faster in order to continue to progress with training. 

"My training schedule calls for a LSD this weekend, will you join me?" 


PB - Personal Best

PB refers to the runners personal best (fastest) time they ran for particular distance. See also the more common, PR.

"I got a PB! I got a PB! A 3 minute PB! WooHoo!"


PR - Personal Record

See also PB. Runners may have a 5K PR, a 10K PR, a half marathon PR and a full marathon PR. It is the fastest time they ran those distances.

"I didn't PR my half marathon but I felt strong and had a great race!"


XT = Cross Training

Cross training refers to an activity that a runner does for exercise besides running. It's important for runners to incorporate some strength training into their training plans in order to run stronger, avoid or correct muscle imbalances and to help avoid injuries. XT sessions should be activities that complement running. 

Now let's try to use them all in one sentence.

"I PR'd my last race with a PB! I didn't BQ but at least I didn't DNF or DNS! I guess those LSDs and XT sessions are paying off!. My BRF will be proud of me!" -  Any Runner

Hope to see you next week for B is for...(you'll have to come back to find out!)

Did I unlock a great mystery for you? Did I miss any? Any suggestions for future running related posts as we work through the alphabet? I'd love to hear what you want to learn more about!

Coach Lea