Running Etiquette

Is There A Running Etiquette? – Starting Off On The Right Foot

May 9th, 2023

Every sport has its unwritten rules, and running is no different. We’ve all been newbies before, and it can be intimidating mixing with people with more experience. Nobody wants to be ‘that guy’ who makes an error that draws the ire of everybody around you. It can really sour the experience and deter you from getting back out there and giving it another shot.

Everybody makes mistakes so even if you have had the odd run-in (no pun intended), you shouldn’t be made to feel unwelcome. But is there a running etiquette? Yes, and to help you get started on the right foot, we’re created a guide to help you navigate any type of run, regardless to the terrain. So, follow these basic rules and you’ll be sure to finish your runs with a smile on your face and a body full of endorphins.

Day-to-Day Running 

A big part of trail running etiquette, especially beneficial if you’re still learning how to start trail running, is about keeping yourself and those around you safe. Trailing running itself can be strenuous, especially if you’re new to the terrain. It can become unpredictable if the weather has been bad so it’s always good to trail run with precaution. It doesn’t seem like a dangerous sport but a wrong move can potentially cause serious injury to yourself or a fellow runner, so follow these tips to avoid a painful accident.

day to day running

  • Yield to others: Give hikers and bikers right of way. Slow down or stop if needed to let them pass safely.
  • Stay on trails: Don’t make shortcuts or new trails, as this can cause erosion and damage to the surrounding area.
  • Don’t litter: Leave the place better than you found it.
  • Respect others: Show basic courtesy to people and wildlife.
  • Be aware of surroundings: Consider the impact of using earphones and stay alert to hazards and wildlife.
  • Watch your impact: Avoid unnecessary actions like skidding or sliding on loose dirt and gravel, as they can cause damage to both you and the environment.

Additional Tips for Road Running

Common sense is usually all it takes, but a few more road running etiquette suggestions when running on or near busy roads include:

  • Hug the side: Out of safety, avoid the middle of the road, even if it may seem the most comfortable area.
  • Look before you leap: Don’t make sudden moves, like a U-turn if you’re running a out and back route. Look around to see who’s around you before turning.
  • Merge with caution: Just like driving, look over your shoulder for runners or cyclists passing in the outside.
  • Always on the right: When you’re passing, give a verbal warning of ‘on your right’ to alert them to keep left.
  • Respect boundaries: If your route takes you through suburbs, stay off lawns, private cemeteries, parks and other protected areas.
  • No pavement or path: Face the traffic so that they can see you coming and stay as far away as you can from them.
  • In a group: Single file or two-by-two is best when running in a group.
  • No signs: Wait for drivers to see you before going through an intersection with no signs. Make eye contact if you have to.
  • High Vis: No matter the time of day, wear bright coloured running apparel and if you can, high reflective clothing to help with visibility. Bright shoes and running headwear can help too.

running caps

Running Race Etiquette

If you’re planning on entering your first race, there are a few subtle elements of running race etiquette to take into consideration.

    1. Pay your fee: Don’t just jump in, as it’s unfair to organisers and other racers, and will inflate the numbers beyond what organisers have prepared for.
    2. Line up according to your speed and experience: If you’re new to racing, it’s best you start near the back to avoid making stronger runners weave past you.
    3. Communicate: Using verbal phrases and hand signals can help let others know when you’re slowing down or overtaking.
  • Keep light pockets: Loose change and keys in your pockets can not only distract you but others.
  1. Be cautious with the water tables: Go with the flow and avoid suddenly slowing down as that may cause an incident with runners behind you.
  2. Move beyond the finish: Avoid accidents by continuing on past the finish line and not stopping suddenly.

Start Your Run Off Right

We’ve all been the new kid on the block, so if you follow these simple rules for trail, race road or track running etiquette, you’ll be sure to have a great time without spoiling anybody else’s run. Visibility and general respect of wherever and whomever you’re running with is key, and if you’re searching for some colour to your wardrobe, or you’re just looking for more general tips, visit our website and we’ll get you running right.