On December 8, I ran my first marathon. It was absolutely exhausting but I somehow managed to cross the finishing line and was over the moon (extremely happy) when I received my medal.

Learning a language can be like running a marathon – we should plan for a long duration not a short one. At first, we may think it’s an impossible task but if we train, we get better and better every day. As we improve, we set ourselves different targets, 5 kilometres or 5 new words, 10 kilometres or 10 minutes of listening a day, a half marathon (21kms) or half an hour of grammar study, until finally, we are ready to attempt a full marathon (42 kms).

running idioms

The key to learning a language is consistency, routine and a gradual increase in work rate and complexity. Build your knowledge gradually and make sure you take frequent breaks so your mind can refresh what you have learnt.

Set yourself realistic goals. If you try to do too much too soon, you are unlikely to reach your goals and how will you feel? Probably frustrated and demotivated. By setting realistic learning targets, you will increase the chance of meeting them and you will feel a sense of achievement and ready for the next challenge.

So, as this is a post about running idioms, here are 15 useful ones to learn. Read the sentences below and try to guess the meaning from the context. 

1. The criminal escaped from prison a week ago and has been on the run ever since.

Does this idiom mean that the criminals were trying to avoid being caught or doing exercise?

2. Manchester United are playing well this year but Arsenal are giving them a run for their money.

Does this idiom mean that Arsenal are playing better than the champions or almost as well?

3. The business will lose money at first but will be successful in the long run.

Does this idiom mean that the business will make money in the near future or in the far future?

4. Trains are often late in London but they run like clockwork in Tokyo.

Does this idiom mean that the trains run exactly as planned or very quickly?

5. He’s a playboy. When he realised that his new girlfriend wanted to get married, he ran a mile.

Does this idiom mean he really wanted to get married or really didn’t want to get married?

6. The teacher has no control over his students. He lets them run wild in the classroom.

Does this idiom mean the students can do whatever they want or that they are always fighting?

7. At first, she was really motivated and studied English for several hours a day. However, after a while, she ran out of steam.

Does the idiom mean that she lost energy/interest in English or she became too busy?

8. The President of the company runs a tight ship and makes decisions about every aspect of the business.

Does this idiom mean that the President is organised and effective or takes many risks?

9.  His father is really funny and his uncle is absolutely hilarious. A good sense of humour obviously runs in the family.

Does this idiom mean that a good sense of humour is common or uncommon in this family?

10. Before moving to France, the family decided to have a trial run and spent a week in Paris to see if they enjoyed being there.

Does that mean that they tried something before deciding to do it or they did it without trying it first?

11. On the surface, he seems quiet and boring but he’s far more interesting than he first appears: still waters run deep.

Does this mean that people are who they seem to be or that people can be more surprising than they appear?

12. Make sure you visit the doctor before you go to India. If not, you run the risk of catching some disease.

Does this idiom mean that the person will definitely catch some disease, such as malaria, or possibly catch some disease?

13. I hate my new job. I spend all day running around in circles but I don’t get anything done.

Does this idiom mean that the person does very little or does alot?

14. Everybody says my business idea is a good one but I run into a brick wall when I try to get somebody to invest in it.

Does this idiom mean that the person is not making progress or making progress?

15. I’ve no idea why all my friends love that new movie. I thought it was run-of-the-mill.

Does this idiom mean that the film was ordinary or special?

Listen to the answers now. You can read them below:

1. The criminal escaped from prison a week ago and has been on the run ever since.

The criminals were trying to avoid being caught by the Police.

2. Manchester City are playing well this year but Arsenal are giving them a run for their money.

Arsenal are playing almost as well as Manchester City.

3. The business will lose money at first but will be successful in the long run.

The business will make money in the far future.

4. Trains are often late in London but they run like clockwork in Tokyo.

The trains run exactly as planned.

5. He’s a playboy. When he realised that his new girlfriend wanted to get married, he ran a mile.

He really didn’t want to get married.

6. The teacher has no control over his students. He lets them run wild in the classroom.

The students can do whatever they want.

7. At first, she was really motivated and studied English for several hours a day. However, after a while, she ran out of steam.

She lost energy/interest in English.

8. The President of the company runs a tight ship and makes decisions about every aspect of the business.

The President is organised and effective.

9.  His father is really funny and his uncle is absolutely hilarious. A good sense of humour obviously runs in the family.

A good sense of humour is common in this family.

10. Before moving to France, the family decided to have a trial run and spent a week in Paris to see if they enjoyed being there.

They tried something before deciding to do it.

11. On the surface, he seems quiet and boring but he’s far more interesting than he first appears: still waters run deep.

People can be more surprising than they appear.

12. Make sure you visit the doctor before you go to India. If not, you run the risk of catching some disease.

The person will possibly catch malaria.

13. I hate my new job. I spend all day running around in circles but I don’t get anything done.

The person does a lot and is busy but doesn’t achieve what they want.

14. Everybody says my business idea is a good one but I run into a brick wall when I try to get somebody to invest in it.

The person is not making progress.

15. I’ve no idea why all my friends love that new movie. I thought it was run-of-the-mill.

The film was ordinary. It was nothing special.

Do you know any more idioms with the word ‘run’? I’d love to hear them.

Click below to get my course on Business English idioms.

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