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C – Running A-Z

Running terms beginning with 'C'

A selection of key running terms to ensure that running terminology doesn’t leave you confused. Refer to the key running terms below and find out their meaning so that you’ll be a running expert in no time...

Calf, body part.
General term given to the muscle at the back of the lower leg.

Carbohydrate loading, (carbo-loading), other technical term.
The process of eating large quantities of carbohydrate – such as bread, pasta, rice or potatoes – to increase carbohydrate reserves in the muscles. Endurance athletes such as marathon runners will carbo-load prior to an event in order to maximise their fuel stores.

Cardiovascular system, (CV), body part.
The body’s unified system of heart and blood vessels. The CV system delivers nutrients (oxygen and energy) to and removes waste products from the tissues, and also helps to regulate body temperature by routing blood flow to and from the skin.

Cartilage, body part.
There are three types of cartilage:

  1. Elastic: an elastic material found at the ear and nose.
  2. Fibro: a thick, strong material found in joints, which acts as a shock absorber.
  3. Hyaline: a thin, smooth material that covers the ends of bones.

Chafing, other technical term.
Soreness or irritation of the skin caused by friction, either from skin-to-skin contact or skin and clothing contact. The most vulnerable areas to chafing are the insides of the thighs, under the arms, the nipples, and the feet. Liberal use of Vaseline and sticking plasters will help to prevent chafing, together with choosing kit that is seam-free and correctly fitting. Longer cycling-type shorts made from Lycra will protect the thighs when worn under an athlete’s running shorts.

Chip timing, other technical term.
A method of timing runners in a race by assigning a uniquely registered electronic chip to each entrant. As runners run over special mats placed at the start, finish, and sometimes points around the course, their unique chip registers their time. With race fields of hundreds and thousands of runners, some entrants may take several minutes to cross the start line – but with chip timing, each runner gets a correct start and finishing time from the time that they personally pass over the start mat, rather than from when the gun fires.

Cool-down, activity.
The time at the end of a workout where the body is returned to near resting levels. A cool-down session should include light, active, aerobic movements, followed by stretching exercises.

Core, body part.
The deep postural muscles that are responsible for maintaining good posture.

Core ball, equipment.
See Stability ball.

Cramp, other technical term.
A very unpleasant sensation caused by a muscle involuntarily contracting. Often caused by cold temperature, dehydration, fatigue or overexertion, it can also come on unexpectedly when at rest. Alleviated by gently stretching the affected muscle until the cramp subsides.

Cross country, activity.
A branch of running in which teams of runners compete over open or rough terrain. A cross-country course may include grass, mud, woodlands and water.

Cross-trainer, equipment.
A cardiovascular machine used by runners in the gym that lessens the impact on the joints due to its rhythmical motion – which is a cross between cycling and running.

Cross-training, activity.
Mixing different activities with running so as to avoid injuries caused by overuse and to prevent boredom. Cycling and swimming are common activities used to cross-train the different muscle groups, but cross-training can alternatively involve a combination of running and resistance training exercises.

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