Running Charm School – Etiquette 101

Happy Memorial Weekend!

As a granddaughter of veterans and sister of military personnel, it gives me great joy to celebrate this occasion – where we honor those who gave their all for our freedoms and pursuit of happiness. Not to mention… I get a 3-day weekend… heck yes!

I plan to spend as much of my long weekend outdoors as scattered thunderstorms allow. While we’re all outside celebrating with runs and walks (and don’t forget pools, burgers, brats and beers) there will surely be a lot of other people out and about. I figure now’s a perfect time for a lesson in sharing our pathways and enjoying each other’s company, yes yes?

Whether with fellow runners or other pedestrians, we inevitably need to share our running terrain. Many times we get lost in our music, or are trying so hard to focus on our own run that we forget about others. Neither struggling, nor being a rockstar athlete makes us more important or gives us more right to be on any given pathway than anyone else. We need to be considerate and treat others like we want to be treated!

 As a friendly reminder to us all, here are some Running Etiquette tips that the running community has followed for many years:

 In Training

  • On sidewalks or multi-use trails, travel on the right and pass on the left.
  • Move to the side if someone behind you says “excuse me” or “on your left”. The same goes for you – if you’d like to pass, say “on your left” so you can scoot around them. It’s proper etiquette to make way and let people pass.
  • Play nice and avoid startling people if possible – give them a heads up that you’re coming. Believe me – I’m a girl and want to know a runner is coming up behind me, not a crazed psycho!
  • Control your pup. If your dog will run off or go crazy when it sees other people, then it definitely needs to be on a leash. And for the love… pick up after your pet’s bathroom breaks!
  • Don’t litter. Gel packets, Gatorade bottles and tissues included. Your fairy godmother does not take care of these trails. Your item may be biodegradable, but so are lots of people’s. Hundreds of pieces of garbage hanging out on your path, taking months or years to disappear doesn’t sound so great does it?

On the Track

  • Run counter-clockwise.

  • Head to the outer lanes if you’re warming up, walking, or have a slower pace than those around you.
  • The inner lanes are for workouts. Yield the innermost lane to folks going faster than you.
  • If you want to pass someone on the inner lane, yell “Track!” Likewise if someone faster comes behind you, they will yell “Track” asking you to move towards the right.


We’re all out there trying eek some enjoyment out of a sweat session, so don’t disturb other people’s outdoor experience in order to make yours better. In the coming weeks, keep your eye out for more info I’ll share on standard race etiquette, so we can all play nice and be prepped for July 4th!

4 comments Add your comment


May 28th, 2010
12:46 pm

Thanks for the tips–now can you do one on Race etiquette?

Lauren Dieterich

May 28th, 2010
12:49 pm

In the works my friend! Stay tuned… “Race Etiquette” will appear sometime in the next couple weeks. Can you believe we’re only 5 weeks away? Exciting!


May 31st, 2010
6:21 am

I have occasionally seen people running clockwise on the track. The one time I asked the person why he was doing this, he said it balanced the stress on his inside leg on the curves. Maybe it’s OK to run clockwise if the track is not crowded and you stay in the outside lanes?


June 1st, 2010
8:53 am

I think as long as the track’s not crowded, almost anything is fair game. Personally I have never run so much on a track that I should be concerned about putting uneven stress on my legs. There is a limit to how many circles I can stand running in a week!