Running Etiquette

Running etiquette is vital when you are hitting the trail, track or treadmill. This is something that will help you stay competitive and friendly when you are running.

running etiquette

Running is a very popular way to stay in shape. It offers the benefits of a cardiovascular workout all while hanging out with good friends, enjoying the outdoors or spending time in the gym. 

There are a lot of runners out there. Some are competitive and serious, while others are just out to get in shape. It doesn't matter which one you are, you should always observe running etiquette.

Path, Trail or Road Running

  • If you are road running, always run against the traffic. You are more likely to see what is coming at you to plan accordingly rather than being hit from behind. You are also more visible to oncoming traffic.
  • When running in a group, only run two wide. This will keep the running traffic congestion down. When there are a lot of people on the path or trail it is always best to go single file.
  • If you are using headphones, keep the volume low. This will allow you to be more aware of your surroundings, other runners and traffic. No one really wants to hear the music that motivates you. Keep that for yourself.
  • Use your cell phone in an emergency only.
  • Running with a dog? Make sure the leash is short. Take care of any presents they leave behind. 
  • Jogger strollers are wonderful, just show good running etiquette and be responsible with the amount of space they require.
  • Announce if you are passing someone in front of you. It is simple to say, "passing on your left" or "excuse me". 
  • If you bring it with you, you should take it out. Don't litter. Use the gift of the garbage can to take care of what you are done with.
  • Pace yourself with the slowest runner. It is polite if you have agreed to train together. If you feel like you need to separate, designate a meeting place at the end of training to cool down and stretch together.
  • Acknowledge other runners with a smile, nod or a Hi.

Track Running

  • Use the appropriate lanes. The inside lanes are reserved for the faster runners. If you are a slower runner, use the lanes that are meant for you. This is not meant to be disrespectful, it is there to keep you and everyone else safe.
  • Run in the lane. Keep your appendages close to you. It is really not safe to run like Phoebe on Friends with your arms and legs flailing everywhere.
  • Don't spit on the track. Enough said.
  • Announce when you are passing someone. Again use, "passing on your left" or "excuse me". The manner in which you ask should be pleasant.
  • Move when someone has requested to pass you. This is simply good running etiquette. One time when I was running on a track I had asked to pass a group of talker-walkers (who were taking up the entire track). They did not move, so I mowed them down. Now that was not a good running etiquette example on my part, however they did not take up the entire track anymore. 
  • Follow the rules listed for the track. They are there for a reason, so that no one gets hurt while training.

Treadmill Running

  • Wear appropriate attire. It is good gym etiquette to show up in running/training shoes and workout clothes (including a sports bra)
  • Keep your motivating music volume low.
  • Do not spit on or around the treadmill (YUCK).
  • Save your long runs for a time when the gym is not extremely busy.
  • Use a towel, wrist band, something to wipe off any dripping sweat.
  • When you are done with your run, wipe off the treadmill with sanitizing wipes or your towel

Race Running

  • Be sure to enter and pay for the race you are entering.
  • It is an unwritten rule that you should never wear the race t-shirt to run the race in. Save it for another day when you can share your accomplishment.
  • Line up according to your speed. Be honest about it. If you are not an elite runner (which most of us are not) don't line up in the front.
  • Leave the dog and jogger stroller home for the race. It is okay to train with them, however it is not okay to compete with them.
  • Do not stop at the water stations. Grab your water and keep running. 
  • Discard your trash appropriately. The best place is at the water station.
  • If you need to stop for any reason, move off to the side. This will keep you safe, as well as the runners who are behind you. When you are ready to go again, merge carefully with the other runners.running etiquette
  • Announce when you are passing.
  • Show gratitude to all of those who are helping with the race. Most of them are volunteers and without them there would not be a race.
  • Keep the headphones off. If you cannot run without them, then keep one ear free to stay aware of your surroundings and other runners.
  • If you need to spit, make sure you move to the side and aim low. Nobody wants to be hit with your misdirected DNA.
  • When you cross the finish line (Yahoo!), keep going for a short distance. Don't stop right at the finish line. 
  • Leave the cell phone with your friends and family. There are plenty of people along the race trail that can help you if you need it. 
Good running etiquette follows the golden rule. It is so much easier to treat other runners how you want to be treated. Taking care of your body is fantastic and running is a wonderful way to accomplish that.

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