Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Running Etiquette

Lately more and more people in the Philippines are embracing the sport of running. This is definitely a good and encouraging news as it will only show that more and more people from different walks of life are now mindful of their health.

With the rapid increase of numbers into running, one aspect that may have not been addressed properly or little emphasis given into is RUNNING ETIQUETTE. While it is true that running is the cheapest sport that anyone can pick-up, it has as in any other sports an "etiquette" that needs to be understood, learned and put into practice by all.

For reference purposes and educational material of all, I have lifted the following articles published by CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association), Will Craven and Shelly Florence Glover ;

Running Etiquette

While runners are a friendly lot, each one of us still needs to do our part to keep our paths, roads and trails safe and enjoyable for everyone, including non-runners. Below are some basic guidelines to adhere to if you’re running along a multi-use path, trail or on the road as well as some race etiquette.

Consideration of Other Runners:

Leave keys, loose change and other jiggling matter home. Tinkling sound effects do not enhance running.

Be runner friendly. If your running group gets spread out during a workout, agree where to re-group. This takes the pressure off the faster runner to run too slowly and pressure off the slower runner to run too fast. Regroup a few times during the run for the ultimate in safety and courtesy.

Running with a slower runner is not an invitation to coach them. When running with a faster runner, don't make excuses about your talent. It degrades you and, in makes both runners uncomfortable.

It's good to be a step ahead in business, in housework and holiday shopping. It's even good to be one step ahead of your competition, but not your training partner. Run side by side.

Don't assume because someone is slower they want your coaching advice. Speed is not an indicator of knowledge. Slower does not mean dumber.

If you are injured, it's okay to whine a little. After that shut up. Everyone has their own problems.

Look before you spit, snot rocket, or otherwise expel bodily fluids. It's rude to catch another runner in your splatter.

Groaning, grunting, wheezing and otherwise broadcasting your discomfort are not considered in good taste. Slow down if you must, but don't make the rest of us miserable listening to you.

Learn to dress and undress on the run. Don't ask the group to wait while you tie your shoe, take off your jacket or otherwise adjust your attire for comfort.
If you are running along in a tight pack and see a hazard on the course, call out or raise your hand so those following will know something is up before they have to leap.

Don't run through puddles and splash other runners unless you want to be chased and dunked.

Don't take off running shoes in public. The smell spreads like potpourri and sometimes peels paint.

At a race

• Do not run in a race if you are not officially registered. It can take away from the resources of paid participants, create unnecessary traffic and pose insurance risks. Just don’t do it. Even if you aren't taking the event seriously, be a good sport, register and pay your fee. Otherwise, it's theft of services.

• Similarly, unless a race allows it, do not buy another’s bib number and consider yourself entered. Unless you registered and signed the waiver yourself, you are not registered.

• Line up according to the pace you plan to run. If you are a slower runner, that's OK, just don’t stand right in the front of the pack. Use common sense about where to stand. Don't toe the front line if you can't run the fastest time.

• Start your races with a little Speed Stick or other deodorant. Nothing is worse than having to hold your breath to cruise past a runner who didn't shower that morning or who wears more Ben Gay than clothes.

• Don’t wear headphones. You reduce your awareness of your surroundings, which is particularly dangerous in a high-traffic race environment. It may also prevent you from hearing instructions from course marshals. Many races ban them and will ask you to remove them prior to entering the race course.

• Turn that beeping watch OFFFFFFF! Same goes for heart rate monitor alarms. Talking on a cell phone during a race is also out.

• If you are running a race with your buddies don't run two and three abreast. Your barricade obstructs the normal ebb and flow of the race field. Runners simply cannot get by you.

• "Looking good" is acceptable encouragement "Get the Lead out!" is not.

• Don't sprint like a hero at the finish if you dogged it during the race. The thumping of your heart and feet have a more glorious beat than two hands smacking of flattery.

• Don't cut the course, stay within the cones and designated lanes. Corners are for going around. Lanes are for staying in. Cones are for running between. Cheating is an act of desperation. Trust your training. If you didn't train, don't fake your race time by cutting off yards instead of seconds.

• Don't drop your water cups, extra clothing, sponges etc on the course. You can ruin some else's race with an unexpected trip to the pavement.

• Don't suddenly change directions or cut off another runner. Like being in a car, to stay safe you've got to stay with the flow of traffic. Take a glance around and signal with your hand or ease up to the side before you pull off the course.

• Don't stop suddenly to walk, especially at water stations. Slow down, signal or otherwise get out of the way.

• When passing, get a stride or two ahead before you step in front. Cutting off another runner can be hazardous to both of you.

• Don't draft too closely. Getting out of the wind is permissible. Tripping another runner is not. Remember that clipping is an infraction in football and running.

• Use caution and control approaching the finish line. Don’t cut off other runners and don’t stop suddenly right after crossing the finish line.

• Don't be a piggy with giveaways. If you take armloads of bagels or other free goodies, there probably won't be enough to go around. It's not an all-you-can-eat event.

• Volunteers are often from a church, school or other community organization. They are often inexperienced. Accidents can happen. Be nice. Be patient. Say thank you.

• Some runners race for fun, some for speed and some for the social atmosphere. With that in mind, don't expect all runners to be social before or during a race.

• Don't race if you are sick. Spreading your germs through an entire pack of runners is selfish and inconsiderate.

• If you've got enough energy, give spectators a thumbs-up. Spectating is hard work!

• Congratulate your competitors at the end of the race. Without them, your only race would be against the clock.

• Try to be gracious about a bad race. Pouting causes wrinkles and hobbles the event's spirit. Have a moment of silence for your bad race ¬ then get on with life.

On The Track

Tracks Lanes are numbered from the inside lane. Lane 1 is the far left inside lane. When you are warming up, cooling down, or just running easy don't run in the inside lanes, lanes 4,5&6 will work just fine for this.

Never walk in lanes 1 or 2.....

When you are doing repeats, intervals, tempo or a hard effort type runs where you are timing yourself it's okay to run in lanes 1 and 2 but if you hear someone coming up behind you, move to the right and yield the inside (left) lane to the faster runner, don't make them go around you. The runner approaching a slower runner should announce "Track" which means he or she wants to pass you in Lane 1.

Don't stop abruptly in lane one or two instead as you finish your interval look over your right shoulder and move to the right as you slow down or stop.

A collision with another runner hurts, one with a cyclist hurts more, lets not even think about a car be safe and courteous. Not everyone know this stuff so be patient and try to avoid any road rage incident wherever you are running.

Lastly, the above etiquette are not meant just to be read but will require to be practiced.


  1. i hope will make a link to this post for the benefit of all the runners. seldom we see a post like this and seldom we see a book or publication about the etiquette in running. even runner's world mag can not come up with a complete compilation of this kind. it is unfortunate that more people would go on running without knowing that there is an unwritten rules/etiquette on running. coaches are encouraged to teach their wards/students about these written/unwritten rules about running so that there will be no misunderstanding between runners. i am already tired asking some runners at the ULTRA Oval Track on how to use the track properly but i see to it to talk to the coaches to spread the word about the proper use of the said facility. nice post, sir amado!

  2. Dear BR - I know you have been trying your best to educate the runners in ULTRA even going out of your way to have three (3) tarpulin notices on proper usage of the oval. Guess what? All three (3) tarpaulins are now missing! I just could not understand why. Don't get tired BR we need you in this crusade and of course running community as

  3. Very informative and helpful especially for newbie runners like me. Thanks a lot for posting these, Sir Amado.

  4. Dear Bingnc - if I may ask your assistance, please help in disseminating the article to other runner newbie or not for the benefit of the running community as a whole.

  5. I really like this one...

    Try to be gracious about a bad race. Pouting causes wrinkles and hobbles the event's spirit. Have a moment of silence for your bad race ¬ then get on with life.

    Sometimes, we put all the blame for the Organizer's inefficiencies rather looking at our own self.
    Thanks for reminding us, a great post like this one!

    Sir will it be alright if I could add you in my blogroll? God bless.

  6. Dear Ronnie - It will be my honor. See you on the road. God Bless!