Running is a simple sport: you put on your shoes and head out the door. While there are far fewer rules in running than other sports like soccer, hockey or baseball, that doesn’t mean it’s the Wild West out there. There are still a few rules that all runners should follow to ensure that everyone can enjoy the sidewalks, roads, trails and track equally.
If you’re running on the sidewalk or a running path, always run on the right and pass on the left. When passing another runner, do your best to give them adequate space so you don’t end up accidentally body-checking them off the path. If you’re on a narrow trail and there isn’t enough room for you to get by, wait a few seconds and them politely ask if you can “just squeeze past” (at least, that’s what you say in Canada — everywhere else a simple “excuse me” will suffice).
Let faster runners pass you
On that note, if a faster runner is coming up behind you, do your best to move to the side so they can get by. This will help to avoid the accidental body-checking scenario we mentioned earlier.
Be mindful of other pedestrians
If there are others out on the sidewalks, paths and trails, do your best to give them plenty of space. Just because you’re moving quicker doesn’t mean that you own the sidewalk, and they don’t want your sweaty elbows bumping into them (nor do they deserve that).
Know track etiquette
At the track, the general rule is to always run in a counter-clockwise direction. Some tracks will switch the direction depending on the day, though, so pay attention to the rules listed at whichever track you choose to use. Always remember that the inside left lane is reserved for the faster runners, so don’t do your recovery jog in lane one. If you’re one of the faster runners in lane one and someone is jogging in front of you, all you have to do is yell TRACK really loudly to terrify them enough that they jump off the track. (Just kidding — we’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.)
Wave (or don’t)
If you enjoy the camaraderie of waving at other runners, go for it, but don’t take it personally if they don’t wave back. It’s not because they’re the Scrooge McDuck of the running world, it’s likely they’re just wrapped up in their own thoughts and aren’t paying attention.
Wait for drivers to see you
If you’re running toward someone who’s backing out of their driveway, don’t just dart behind their car because you “think you can make it.” Stop, wait until the driver can see you, then proceed. The same goes for when you’re at an intersection and someone’s turning — in the game of runners versus cars, the runner rarely comes out on top.
Always face traffic
This one is also more about safety than etiquette. If you’re running in an area that doesn’t have a sidewalk, always run on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
Don’t be an obnoxious group
If you’re running in a group, don’t take up the entire sidewalk or path. It’s rude, and it gives runners a bad reputation. Your group should run two-by-two at most, and in a particularly crowded or busy area, opt for single file.
Stay off people’s lawns
When you’re running through the streets, steer clear of private property. Nobody wants you stomping on their lawn and ruining their grass. On that note, don’t use other people’s gardens or bushes to relieve yourself, either. That’s just gross.
Keep your fluids to yourself
If you’re out running on a trail or somewhere more secluded and you need to fire off a snot rocket, go ahead, but when you’re out for a run and there are other humans nearby, do everyone a favour and hold that loogie in. No one wants to end up downwind of your spit and get an unwelcome shower, nor do they want to walk through a pile of your phlegm on their way to work.