Understanding Running Terms

Basic Biomechanic Running Terms

  1. Pronation: The rolling inward of the foot during walking or running due to a lack of support by the individual’s foot structure.
  2. Neutral: An efficient foot that neither rolls inward or outward while walking or running. It remains efficient for the individual
  3. Suponation: The rolling outward of the foot from a more rigid and less flexible structure of the foot.


Each of these terms refer to a foot type and its general movement while walking or running. Each type of foot will have a varying degree of inward or outward movement which can put added stress on a persons foot, ankle, knees and hips.

  1. Gait The basic movement of the body forward or locomotion via the upper and lower body movements
  2. Gait Cycle The sequences of the lower body that occur for walking or running that include one completion of the foot at initial impact then a mid-stance or the foot flat on the ground, toe off and then the swing phase where the foot is not on the ground prior to initial impact
  3. Instep Arch area of the foot
  4. Mid-Foot Middle section of the foot between the heel and the ball
  5. Forefoot Front of the foot from the ball to the toes
  6. Rear-Foot Heel area of the foot

Additional Footwear/Shoe Terms

  1. Medial Side The arch side of the shoe
  2. Lateral Side The small toe side or outside of the shoe
  3. Medial Post A firmer piece of material added to the midsole of the shoe for additional support
  4. Crash Pad/ Landing Zone An area at the rear of the heel to the outside of the shoe that is a typical area where a runner will contact the ground

Race Distances

  1. 5K  (3.1 miles)
  2. 10K  (6.2 miles)
  3. Half Marathon  (13.1 miles)
  4. 25K  (15.5 miles)
  5. 40K  (24.85 miles)
  6. Marathon  (26.2 miles)
  7. 50K  (31 miles)
  8. Ultra Races.  usually longer than a marathon and can be up to or more than 100 miles