I recently read an article about etiquette from running road races. While I think the article did a good job of sharing five important tips, it didn’t hit on any of the ones I had in my own mind. I realized after re-reading it that it definitely was hitting on race day running etiquette only and I’m here to tell you that you’ll be doing a lot more non-race day running than you will otherwise so let’s talk about training etiquette.
I typically do all of my runs in the neighborhood I live in. I run on sidewalks or paved paths, sometimes at the park and occasionally on the side of the road for a few streets that don’t have sidewalks. We live in the suburbs so I pass a lot of houses and intersections and I see plenty of cars driving by on my way as well. So with that in mind, here are etiquette tips from a running mom:
1. Follow the rules of the road. – If you come to a stop sign, pause, look for cars and then proceed. You don’t just automatically have the right of way. If you come to a cross walk, do not jay-walk. Press the button and wait for the light to change for you to continue. I know that stopping can sometimes throw off my pace or my momentum but safety is really much more important to me.
2. Share the path. – If you are approaching walkers/runners/etc. on the sidewalk coming towards you, move to the side. I realize this may seem like common sense but I assure you, I have had to run in grass more times than I can count because someone coming at me didn’t have the courtesy to just use the side of the path rather than strutting down the center. I follow the same rules of driving and move to the right. If I am running and notice I’ll need to be passing someone either walking or running slower than I am, I announce myself (“on your left!”) before going around them.
3. Smile. Or wave. Or something. – This is both out of common courtesy and for your safety. Pay attention to the people around you. If you are so deep into the zone while you are running, you can easily be caught off guard by a criminal. Enjoy the run but take mental pictures of everyone you see. An old trick I learned in retail banking is all about acknowledging. Criminals do not want to be seen. By noticing them and making it obvious that you noticed them, it will likely throw them off and could potentially make the difference in the outcome.
4. No judgement. – Everyone has their own reason for what effort they make, what they wear, how they position themselves, etc. Do not snark or laugh or point or say anything rude to or about anyone else exercising. You are on the same team! Get healthy and just focus on what you are doing.
5. No signs left behind. – Many mother runners bring along company on their runs. This may mean a jogging stroller, a pet or maybe even just a snack for along the way. Leave absolutely no sign that you ran on that sidewalk or path. Don’t toss your Cliff Bar trash on the ground, find a trash can or put it back in your pocket. Don’t let Fido poop in someone else’s yard (or worse on the sidewalk where other people will be walking soon after you!), carry small trash bags to pick it and dispose of it safely and quickly. Make sure your stroller is in working condition so it doesn’t tear up any trails or yards and don’t let your kids toss things out of the stroller to be left behind either.
Running is an amazing way to get exercise and clear your head. It does not take much to have a great run, just use a little common courtesy on your way!
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