Mind Your Manners on the Run – 5 Useful Running Etiquette Tips
Especially for new runners entering a race or joining a running group or club, certain habits and practices familiar to experienced runners might be perplexing to the newbie.
Fortunately, most runners are welcoming individuals and happy to help steer beginners in the right direction. Here are a few tips to help new runners get up to speed quickly.
- Running with actual human beings? Interact with them and ditch the headphones. There will be plenty of solo runs for you to listen to your music or favorite podcast. Make friends and prioritize human interaction when on a group run or even with only one other runner. Headphones in the company of others prevents a chance to build relationships. And conversations can make the run feel easier due to the distraction. Don’t miss out!
- Nobody wins medals for the warm up. If your workout with others includes a warm up and/or cool down, take it easy. Be conversational, and leave the hard running for the central part of the session. Causing the group to string out because you are maxing out on the warm up jog squanders good will and valuable energy needed for the actual fitness-building part of the workout.
- Use lane 1 for running quickly and only in the correct direction. Unless you have the track to yourself, and perhaps even if you do, go easy on the most used lane on the track (helping preserve it for longer, so the community can all enjoy it). If you need measured distances and are running at a challenging pace, use lane 1 if permitted by your facility. If you are jogging easy, running with headphones, walking, with small kids, for whatever reason going the opposite direction, etc, use the outside lanes and in doing so, avoid impeding anyone who might be giving a hard effort in lane 1.
- No half-stepping. If running with others, avoid running in a way that implies you are barely able to contain yourself from running faster. On easy runs, run directly alongside others, be communicative about pace, and make cooperative decisions. If you're on a trail or the track, run ahead as the leader or behind as a follower. Either is fine, especially when you communicate with others and take turns. Running abreast, but a half step ahead, puts pressure on the situation. And it can reduce the fun factor as well as the chance you’ll get a repeat invitation from that new running buddy.
- Be honest. With yourself, with your running partners, and anyone who is helping you on your running path. If you're having a tough day, be realistic about your expected pace and endurance. If you are with a group that is running faster, slower, shorter, or longer than is a good idea for you, speak up respectfully and before you start. Everybody has good days and off days, and honesty can often encourage others to share their own experiences and help you in ways you might never have anticipated.
Coach Dena Evans leads the Silicon Valley-based Strava Track Club.