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My friend planned to start morning walk. And for the first day, he planned for 10km. I, impressively, said, "That's gonna be some head start!" And he returned, "Head start over whom?"

I first didn't get him. Later I checked that head start is used mostly for comparison with somebody. But then from the wikipedia entry last para, I inferred that this word may be used absolutely, without any comparison. But I am not sure. But just to avoid confusion for future, I was wondering for an alternative and I thought about jump start but Oxford is listing it just as verb. So I wonder how I could improve on my original sentence.

  • Well, you can get a head start in life by having rich parents [for example] but it's still a comparison [with those people without rich parents] – Tetsujin Mar 9 '15 at 11:07
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    Are you trying to say to your friend: That's an ambitious beginning! In that case, you could say "Wow, starting at 10k instead of 3k is really going to jump-start your training!" [From what I know, however, it's better to begin modestly and increase gradually.] – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 9 '15 at 11:41
  • Ya, I was trying to say that that was ambitious. – Ramit Mar 9 '15 at 12:30
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    Straightforward: What an ambitious start! Toned down yet keeping your phrasing intact: That's gonna be some start! Also, like TRomano suggested, beginning works as well. – Damkerng T. Mar 10 '15 at 13:39
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The moment your friend asked you back, "Head start over whom?", he meant this.

head start - an advantage that someone has over other people in something such as a competition or race.

The example follows with the word 'over' in it:

You've got a head start over/on others trying to get the job because you've got relevant work experience.

Clearly, he thought that you used 'head start' incorrectly. This is because there was no other runners competing him! He actually does not need head-start.

BUT, I'm with you!

The noun 'head start' can be used to say someone that they have promising/favorable beginning. In a layperson's language, "Wow, that's great to fulfill your goal."

To support both of us, we have Merriam Webster Dictionary!

head start (sense #2) -a favorable or promising beginning

The example follows:

She took some extra classes to get a head start in her career.

So...in the same way...

Ramit's friend is going to take a head start for his health by planning 10 km on the very first day

For its idiomatic usage, refer Dictionary.com

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    That's a great answer. I'll wait for a day or two. If there's no better answer, I'll mark this as accepted. Thanks. – Ramit Mar 9 '15 at 12:29
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    Ah, my pleasure. And waiting is good. There are great heads around! :) – Maulik V Mar 9 '15 at 12:31
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"Jump start" can be used as a noun, but I don't think it means what you want.

A jump start is a way to start a car when its battery is flat. You jump start it by attaching jumper cables to another car's battery, which gives the car enough power to run the starter motor which starts the engine.

You can say "I jump started my car" or "I gave my car a jump start."

Jump start is also used metaphorically. E.g. "I like to jump start my day by listening to loud music." "That coffee gave me a jump start."

For your sentence I might use kick start. This means to get something moving quickly.

"That's gonna be some kick start!"

  • kick start is good too. Now I am all confused. – Ramit Mar 10 '15 at 5:22

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