I’ve been a runner for over 16 years now, and almost all of them training for a marathon or half marathon of sorts. As you can imagine, I’ve pounded out some serious miles on the pavement. I’ve run with running groups, best friends, old friends, co-workers but mostly, I run as a lone ranger. This means I have a lot of time to think.
Now, as a co-founder and co-coach over at Gals Who Run, I’m learning more and more about the running community. This community is growing at a rapid fire pace through our 4-week challenges and comprehensive training guides, and we continue to get stronger and smarter together. It’s really been a gift to get to learn from runners across the nation (and globe really) about where they find success, motivation and also where they struggle.
For the most part, running is a pretty straight forward sport, which I think is one of the main reasons I love it. You just put on your shoes and go. No appointments, no gear, no complicated rules or scoring principles to learn. The only thing we share is the open road. But as it turns out, there are just a few “rules of the road” that you may want to consider whether you’re a runner yourself or just watching them fly by. Here is a quick summary of what I learned from my last community poll and from what I’ve experienced in my close to 20,000 miles on the road…
As a runner, keep these 5 things in mind:
- Act as if you have a rear view mirror. If you’re running with pals or pets, it’s easy to block an entire pathway. If nobody is around, that’s fine, but keep an eye out for faster runners or cyclist that may come up behind and need to get past you.
- Acknowledge other runners. Especially if you make eye contact. It’s one thing to be so focused when you’re running to not notice runners in the other direction, but it’s entirely different when you make eye contact then look away. A simple smile, nod, thumbs up or even a high five can be an amazing way to show support. We’re all sharing the road and the love of the same sport, why not encourage each other while we’re out there.
- Be careful with your “stuff.” The occasional spit or nose situation may result in something needing to be blown out. Please be aware of your surroundings when and if this happens.
- When racing, be mindful of your coral and line up correctly. And if the race isn’t big enough to set up corals, try to figure it out by checking out the crowd. If you run a 10 min mile, try not to line up in the front of the pack as the speedy guys may simply run you over as they get ahead to hit their pace goals.
- Don’t litter. I think that goes without saying, but just in case. Even on a race course, don’t just toss empty gel packets off into a neighborhood. Either hang onto them until you find a trash can or drop them off at a water station. And don’t forget to thank the kind volunteer who handed you that helpful cup of water while you’re there.
As a non-runner, keep these 5 things in mind next time you’re on a pedestrian path:
- Be mindful of your surroundings. Just as any runner should keep an eye our for faster folks coming up behind them and move out of the way, walkers and on-lookers should do the same. When you see a runner coming, simply step aside and try not to block the entire path with your buddies.
- Walk in a straight line and look before you change directions. A runner may be coming up behind you and if you’re veering in a direction or make a sharp turn, even on a pedestrian pathway, this could cause an accident. Just because there are no cars does not mean you’re not sharing the road.
- Keep an eye on your kids and your pets. Little ones can be like deers in headlights and run directly into a runner, which can be dangerous for everybody.
- Try not to ask a runner to stop. If you’re looking around for someone to take a picture or ask for directions, a runner is not your best option. Stopping and starting again can make a training run very choppy and more painful than necessary.
- Encourage runners when you see them if they’re looking at you. Just as runners can support each other with a simple smile, nod, thumbs up or even a high five, others can too. Don’t underestimate the physical boost that positive interaction can give a runner.
Want to be a part of the Gals Who Run Community?
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just getting comfortable in your running shoes, our goal is to provide you with communit support and resources to get you across your finish line! Whether it’s your first mile, a 5K or 26.2 miles of glory — we want to get you there as quickly and pain free as possible. And, with a smile too! Here’s how you can join:
- Visit our FaceBook page for regular motivation and information.
- Subscribe to our newsletter to be in the loop on community events and promotions.
- Join our End of Summer Run Challenge, it starts August 1st!
How’s that for a brief runner etiquette guide? What’s missing? What do you love and despise seeing on the road from runners and non-runners? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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