Basic Running Etiquette

This post was actually inspired by some kinda crappy cyclists on the trail but I figured runners might need a hand too and the cycling portion will be here on Wednesday, swimmers you’re on your own! Now there are lots of other posts out there on this sort of thing but all we’re missing something and so I’m focusing on that stuff here and I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re a decent human and not pee in public or litter from the get go. So that said here’s what you need to know!

IMG_5154 copy

Smile and wave, it’s a thing we do

Let’s start off with an easy one if you see another runner or even walker give them a smile and a wave even if they’re faster than you. If you’re the faster runner then you’ll make the other runner’s day by giving them a big, warm encouraging howdy. Now some runners are super in the zone when they’re out there but as much as possible try not to be that girl or take it personally if you meet her out there.

Don’t chute anyone and finish headphone free

During races there are a few ‘other’ things that need saying. One is that if you have to stop for any reason pull way over to the side and get off the course as fast as possible. Look for a legit break to re-join or pick up your dropped object. That might mean you have to wait for a lot or even most of the runners to pass, that’s the breaks kids. Thank all the volunteers you can along the way and then get ready to finish. The first thing to avoid is chuting anyone or basically passing them at the finish line. At most and all bigger races there is a chute funnelling runners into the finish line but it’s really there to make sure you cross that last timing mat. It’s not considered polite to pass someone as you cross the line or in the chute. And I’m Canadian so we know about polite! So what does a chute look like? It’s right before the finish line and is marked with fences, flags, blow-ups or some other side marker. So your race is over not at the finish line but at the start of the chute. They’re not typically more than about 10 – 50 meters at the most so relax. It’s also a really great to take your headphones out at this stage so you can hear directions from race officials as you cross the line. Even though we all disregard the no headphones rule for the duration take them out at the most critical part. Also sometimes they announce your name at the end as you finish, your people are cheering for you and finally it’s pretty darn exciting no matter what. Take your headphones out and be present for the moment.


Follow the rules

You might be running at they gym on a treadmill, the road, a trail or a track each one comes with its own set of rules and even if you’re the fastest, fittest and most fab one there the rules still apply to you! I’m not super familiar with gym rules but I’ve picked up on the streets you’re supposed to wipe down the equipment when you’re done. Other than that I’m not sure but I suspect that they told you when you signed up, they’re posted somewhere prominent and you can find them online if you’re lost, know them and follow them! On the road I’m you’re girl, run facing traffic, yield to road bikes especially and pull over if needed for cars. Never run more than two abreast and pull into single file when needed. If you want more info on how to be a good road runner check out this open letter I wrote to runners. At the track, well I’ve almost never been but find out what the rules are and follow them.

Sorry Beyonce it’s to the right, but during races sometimes left is best

If you’re using a trail or path stay in you’re lane if marked and if not stay to the right. Pretend it’s the road and you might get hit if not. Sometimes that’s true. The trans Canada trail I run and cycle on is multi use and while it’s not very twisty by staying to the right as much as possible I minimize the risk of coming face to face with an ATV, horse or even another biker or runner would suck. So best to stick to your side all the time. During a race you want to hug the side of the course whenever possible and I think that’s actually the left side but it changes a bit as the race goes on. That way faster runners can pass you easily. To avoid being passed line up around where in the pack you think you’ll finish but there’s no real consequence if you get it wrong,  you’ll find your right spot eventually in the process.


Pass perfectly

Whether racing or running on the road or the track hopefully at some point you’ll get to pass someone, which feels awesome. You should make the other runner aware that you are about to pass them. “On your left” is the classic line but “Hey” “Hi” or “excuse me” also work well. If you’re Canadian you might even throw a “sorry” in there for good measure. If you’re in front runner still seems un aware (headphones) just tap them on the shoulder lightly if you feel comfortable or really need them to move over to let you by. Once you do decide to pass get passed them as fast as possible and continue on.

Thinking back I don’t think I’ve had any horror stories with other runners but It’s probably just a matter of time and frequency right?  Intoxicated pedestrians now that’s another storey. What’s the rudest thing another runner has ever done to you? Or Gasp, what’s the rudest thing you’ve done to another runner?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: