A Runner’s Etiquette

by Mackenzie M. | July 9th, 2012 | Running

On this site, we often write tips for running faster, tips on wearing the right clothing, and tips on how to stretch correctly; however, there is one aspect of running that is very important for even the most amateur participant to be aware of. Whether it seems obvious at first or not, running always comes down to etiquette.

In order to create the most enjoyable and harmonious running environment for other runners around you, it is important to adhere to some basic principles of etiquette while taking part in this sport. Of course, if your path is a solo one, these do not apply as much. If your run takes you in any public place or event, be sure to stick to the following rules of etiquette.

One of the biggest pet peeves of many runners are the lone runners who decide to run the incorrect way down the street, trail, or sidewalk. When running, at least in countries where cars drive on the right, when running on the street, always run against traffic by sticking to the left side of the street; however, if on a sidewalk, trail, bike path, etc, be sure to pass on the right. Too many times runners can be seen running with traffic on a road, or simply down the exact middle of a running path. Not only is this bad manners, it can actually be dangerous for the runner. Making sudden U-turns can also pose a threat to runners. Without looking over the shoulder, a U-turn can mean an accidental turn into other runners, bikes, or cars. Always be aware of your surroundings while running – no matter what the location.

At races and other running events, having a general sense of etiquette is incredibly important. Often, the staff members of an event are all volunteers. Remember to always say thank you to race volunteers that you encounter, especially if they give assistance such as a cup of water at an aid station. While on the course, be sure not to drop any clothing. Instead, tie it around the waist. If something is accidentally dropped, especially at the finish line, be sure to ensure that all runners have passed before going to retrieve it. While racing, if the need for a place to carry out bodily functions occurs, be sure to use a port-a-potty, or at least a discrete clump of bushes apart from any private property.

If running with friends, a whole other set of etiquette must be implemented. Always balance your time between multiple friends, so that everyone gets a turn as your running buddy. Also, if you have scheduled a run with someone in advance, do not skip it. This is a sign of lack of dedication and general bad manners. Even though it may be tempting to talk while running in a group, never run more than two abreast on a sidewalk or trail.

No matter when, where, or how you run, always remember that taking a run is better than not. To be safe and proper, always be sure to keep etiquette in mind.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.