Running Etiquette – How Not To Be a Rude Runner!

*[Audio Content Available For Members Only. Click Here to Join Now]

This is funny . . .

One of my aunts sent me an article recently about the negative effects of long distance running.

I started reading some of the comments afterward to see if anyone would voice an alternative opinion in support of running. Instead I ran across this woman’s comment.

Here is Barbara’s two cents on runners:

“I think too much exercise is when you are in pain or uncomfortable for an extended period of time. Many runners look like they are in pain the whole time. They don’t look happy or meditative. They are usually angry and aggressive and refuse to run on sidewalks but instead run in the road and make you almost hit oncoming traffic trying to drive around them. I think they are a menace to society and a pain to deal with. There is usually room on the side of the road or sidewalk for them, but they charge at your car like enraged bulls. I think they are bullies and egomaniacs. If cyclists and joggers have any look on their face, it is like of smug superiority or bent determination.” Posted On Jan 25, 2012

I was pretty surprised by the animosity she expressed and it got me thinking that she can’t be the only person out there that feels that way about runners.

Here are the rules of running etiquette:

General Running Etiquette

How to beat the rude runner stereotype in your community

  1. Run against traffic. You should always run facing traffic, so you can see and be seen by oncoming vehicles. Be very alert on blind curves. Don’t dart across the road in front of oncoming traffic.
  2. Run on the right in parks and on paths. On routes closed to cars, the standard practice is to stay to the right-unless park signs indicate otherwise. Don’t run in the middle of the path as you may be obstructing traffic for other runners or cyclists.
  3. Don’t run more than two across. It can be fun to run side by side so that you can talk with a running partner, but it’s not a good idea to take up the entire width of the path or trail. When other people, cyclists, or cars approach proceed to single file. Don’t be a road hog. This also applies during a road race. Make sure that you aren’t blocking the road.
  4. Running partners. Be courteous when running with others who are slower than you, especially if you’re running together at their invitation. If you are running with someone slower don’t pressure them to speed up. You and your running partner should have similar goals to train together consistently.
  5. Acknowledge fellow runners. People have different feelings on this topic, but many runners feel snubbed when others don’t make a gesture of recognition. Brief eye contact and a quick nod or smile will do the trick. Not returning greetings or simple nods when passing another runner can be considered rude.
  6. Warn before passing someone. It’s a good idea to give the person you’re passing enough time to process the warning before the actual passing occurs. Try not to act like a stealth bomber. This is especially important if you’re running early in the morning or in the evening.
  7. At the track. The most universal rule is that faster runners stick to the inside lanes while walkers and runners doing recovery jogs should occupy the outer ones. You should always run around a track in the counter clockwise direction.
  8. Private property. Respect private property along your route. The world is not your playground. For example, don’t relieve yourself in the neighbor’s bushes. Don’t cut across private property unless you have permission. Definitely don’t litter. If you can’t find a garbage can carry your trash home.
  9. Running talk. It’s never polite to brag about your running accomplishments. Don’t give advice without being asked. Don’t be an elitist. Whether people run 2 miles or 50 miles a week they’re still runners. Don’t neglect and irritate your family and friends by spending all your time running and talking about running.
  10. Running with dogs. When you’re running on roads or trails with your dog clean up its mess. Make sure that you keep the dog on a leash especially on well-used trails and roads. If you’re running on a crowded path make sure to keep the leash short to avoid tripping other runners. Bonus tip: make sure you feed your dog some high-calorie dog treats so he has enough energy to keep up with the pace!
  11. Body functions. Running jostles the GI track so passing gas while running is excusable and inevitable. If a runner has clearly taken pains to mask the gas the polite thing is to pretend nothing happened. Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. If you need to spit, blow your nose, or throw-up, move to the side of the road and do it there. At the very least look before you spit or let a snot rocket fly. If nature calls check for a port-a-potty, an open business, a kind neighbor, or as a last resort, a discreet clump of bushes before relieving yourself.

Race Etiquette

If you want other runners to hate you please ignore these instructions.

  1. Line up in the correct corral. Walkers should always line up in the back.
  2. Pay attention to pre-race instructions.
  3. Don’t run with more than two accross. Move to single file during congested spots in the race.
  4. If you need to stop for any reason move to the side of the course. Never stop abruptly in the middle of the path.
  5. Be careful at water stops. Move to the aid station gradually and keep moving forward after you recieve your drink.
  6. Throw trash in garbage cans or to the side of the course near the aid station.
  7. Look before you throw any item off the course. The runners behind you don’t want to be hit by your throwaway clothes or water cup.
  8. Keep moving after you cross the finishing line and follow directions from race officials.
  9. Take the appropriate amount of food in the finishing area. This is not an all you can eat buffet for you and your family members.
  10. Remember to show appreciation to race volunteers. They work hard and make the race possible.

We can make the world a better place by using good running etiquette. Happy running!

Quick Tip: How to Decrease Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after an activity and it is perfectly normal. It occurs as a result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to causing small microscopic tears in the muscles. Here are some guidelines to decrease and deal with DOMS.

  1. Don’t do too much, too soon.
  2. Cool down after exercise.
  3. Stretch after running.
  4. Refuel with a carbohydrate and protein source within 30-60 minutes (Hammer Recoverite).
  5. Rest and massage

10 Responses to Running Etiquette – How Not To Be a Rude Runner!

  1. Trevor February 23, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I saw a t-shirt that said . . .

    How’s My Running?
    Call 1-800-EAT-DUST

  2. Dan February 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    I try to run on all surfaces but if I run on the road I run close to the side as possible and drivers always give me a plenty of room and sometimes a smile and a thumbs up!

    • Angie February 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      Hi Dan. I’ve had some very positive responses from drivers too. Unfortunately it’s the negative experiences that tend to stand out. Happy running!

  3. Eduardo February 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    You forgot one golden rule. Do not show up if you don’t have a number! Many runners think that is ok but it can happen that the last runners will missed refuel.

    • Angie February 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      You’re right Eduardo. It’s important to have a race number and not run as a bandit. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jim February 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    One other thing with racing; please leave your dog at home. If you must take him/her with you:

    1. Keep it on a leash
    2. Keep the leash short and the dog close to you
    3. Do not bring a young dog without experience running in large groups with you
    4. Do not weave in and out of people like you would if you were running by yourself

    I don’t have a dog, but I do like dogs. Just because I’m in the middle or at the end of the pack doesn’t mean that I’m not trying to meet a goal pace. Remember that you need to show courtesy to your fellow runners and you are responsible ensure that your dog does the same.

    • Angie February 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Jim. Running with a dog does take some extra precautions. Most races don’t allow dogs on the course, but there are a few geared specifically toward dogs and owners. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Trevor C February 27, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    I would add.

    Be careful not to drop your water bottle etc at the start of the race when it is really hard to see ahead of you. During my last race I stepped on one 50ft past the start line and twisted my knee and ankle and ended up running in pain for 1/2 the race.

    If you are doing walk breaks move to the far right while walking.

    Great advice about thanking the volunteers at races. We do appreciate the thumbs up or nods we get.

    Also leads me to say that every runner should volunteer at least once at a race. (Or once a year.)

  6. Paul February 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi guys, love the article on how not to be a rude runner, I think people should pay more attention to these ”unwritten rules”.
    Love the podcasts, you need to make them more frequent.
    Keep up the fabulous, very positive attitude,

    All the way from Cork, Ireland,

    • Angie March 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      Hi Paul. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the podcast. It’s great to have you in the MTA community in Ireland. Keep listening and we’ll keep the podcasts coming.

Leave a Reply