Running Etiquette

Running Etiquette

Have you ever been glared at by another runner while out for some miles? Perhaps that person was just having a bad day, but it also could be that you were breaking one of the unspoken rules of running etiquette! Just as newer runners can struggle with running terminology and lingo, it can similarly be confusing to know how you’re supposed to be operating in different running environments. Follow the quick list of often unspoken rules below to ensure you are always being courteous to others while out on your run.

  • When running on the road:
    • When running on the road with cars, run on the left side (facing oncoming traffic). This way even if oncoming vehicles don’t see you, you will be able to see them.
    • Wear visible clothing so that cars and other people can see you
    • Wear a headlamp if it’s not daylight. Just because you can see where you are running does not mean that you are clearly visible to traffic.

  • When running on the track:
    • Everyone is allowed to run in lane 1 unless there is an organized school or club practice going on. Although it can be courteous to run in an outside lane if someone else appears to be doing a workout on the track and you are just running easy.
    • When coming up behind someone on the track, the faster runner should break out of lane 1 and go around the slower runner on the right side. The slower runner is not expected to move out of the way for the faster runner.
    • If you are sharing a lane with someone, run the proper direction (counter clockwise)
    • Do not stop or walk in lane 1. If you stop running, either move to an outer lane or step onto the infield.
    • If you see someone in lane 1 but they don’t see you, give them a heads up by shouting “Track!” Even if they don’t know what you’re saying, they’ll look up to see you coming and move out of the way.

  • When running on trails:
    • Keep to the right side of the trail, unless going around someone.
    • Call out to someone ahead of you before you overtake them in order, to not startle them. Phrases “on your left” or “on your right” does the trick!
    • Typically runners should yield the right of way to horseback riders, and bikers should yield the right of way to everyone.
    • If two runners approach one another from opposite directions, the person running downhill should typically yield the right of way to the person running uphill.
    • Not only is it generally considered bad practice to run with headphones while on the trail, but it can also be dangerous. Headphones will prevent you from being aware of your surroundings and other people on the trail.
    • If you do choose to wear headphones, keep one ear bud out to allow the above.
    • Speak up and warn oncoming runners of possible dangers ahead of them (i.e. snakes, cyclists approaching, icy patches of trail)
    • Stay on the trail. This should go without saying, but parks departments and volunteers work hard to keep trails in good condition, so don’t ruin their work or damage the surrounding environment by running off trail.

  • When running with friends:
    • Don’t “one-step” people. If you are running next to a friend, run even with them rather than 1-2 steps ahead, unless you are intentionally trying to push the pace. The exception to this rule is if the trail you are on is not wide enough for two people.
    • Ask what pace and what distance your friend(s) would like to run. Sometimes our friends are too nice to speak up and let you know you’ve gone too far or are running too fast.

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