Running, Walking Etiquette: 10 Commandments for Being Socially Aware
Running and Walking offers freedom, enjoyment, healthy exercise and the chance to share it all with fellow devotees, some of whom are friends, some others are complete strangers.
But, because running and walking occurs in company and in shared spaces, people should consider how to act responsibly to make sure their actions and behaviors do not interfere with the enjoyment of others.
Even when you run alone for miles on a remote forest track, any rubbish you leave behind can ruin the enjoyment and solitude of natural environment of other runners who follow in your footsteps.
Most people know and abide by the well-know principles of gym etiquette, but few take enough care of their fellow 'huffers and puffers' on the pounded pavements and tracks.
Do the right thing! Don't be one of the running, jogging and walking bad guys and slobs.
Read the 10 commandments for Running and Walking Etiquette and stick to them.
Below are 10 ways to make you a more considerate, socially aware and responsible runner and walker.
1. Thou shalt nod Hello, but only say Hello when wanted
If you see someone running towards you, enjoy a fleeting moment of shared engagement, but be sensitive of how far they want to go in communicating with you. You need that subtle art of reading body language to understand just how far they want to go. Start with a nod and say "Hello" or "Hi" or "How are You". if you sense they want to exchange conversation with you. The isolated runner inside a black cloud of isolation will resent you trying to communicate when they just want to be left alone. Grunts, moans and groans are fine - try to respond in kind, after anticipating how they are going to respond to you. Try not to mumble something after they have passed you.
2. Thou shalt not spray thy sweat
Running hard on a hot day makes you sweat a lot. As you run your sweat drops to the ground and sprays out as you bounce along. If you are sweating profusely always allow an extra gap when passing. If you brush off sweat or shake it off your face, be careful where the drops lands
3. Thou shalt not flaunt thy phlegm
Sometimes when running, you need to clear your nose or clear your airways. Carry a tissue, or wait until you are away from other people before spitting it out or discharging it in other ways. Feigning a sneeze or a cough to clear your nose discreetly. and shaking your head, then you're in the clear.
4. Thou shalt share thy path, but not get downtrodden or bullied
Overtaking and letting others overtake you, and running with lots of other people is a whole topic of complex social interaction. Don't be a wimp. Always speed up a bit, imperceptibly when someone wants to overtake you. Do it in a sneaky way by increasing your stride length. Runners expect a mini-challenge, but don't make it too easy for them. Running lined up. beside with someone you don't know is a big no no! Drivers hat this as well. It really disturbs them. People don't know what to do when this happens.
5. Thou shalt dress to discreetly and with dignity to cover the wobbly bits that are not meant to be seen to wobbling when the music stops
This is common sense for you the runner and your audience. Wear the right clothes.
6. Though shalt not litter
Always put that energy gel wrapper back in your pocket or anything else you consume along the ways. Also be careful where you expel excess water when you rinse your mouth out.
7. Thou shalt be realistic about your pace and don't groan and moan too loudly
No one really loves a failed hero. Keep out of the fast lane if you can't maintain that pace. If you get exhausted keep the moaning and groaning to yourself as much as you can. Loud grunts and moans can really disturb your fellow runners. They may call an ambulance.
8. Thou shalt still be able to hear, despite wearing head phones, and pay attention so you can see and be aware of any hazards
The unguided missiles roaring along the track that fail to hear the bike bells, care at crossings and the quiet "Excuse Me, please let me through are very annoying. You can be a hazard to yourself and your fellow runners. Some runners have the music so loud that other runners nearby can hear it. Runners who round corners or cross roads without hearing the traffic may crash into innocent bystanders. Similarly running while texting or checking your smartphone can be very risky. People have died walking into traffic they did not see because they were texting.
9. Thou shalt be aware of traffic, other runners and not get in their way.
If you need to tie your shoe or stop for any reason (phone call, cough, blowing your nose, stretching etc) you will move to the side of the track and off the course. On the road you will run against traffic so you can see what's coming. If running on a track or the sidewalk you will travel on the right and pass on the left, or vice versa depending on the convention. You will not run more than two abreast if you are running in a group or on a road.
10. Thou shalt not take thyself too seriously and will enjoy yourself.
Runners who get too obsessive and worry about a few seconds delay or minor interferences are stopping themselves from enjoying their running. Being happy and outgoing helps to develop good relationships with your fellow runners and benefits everyone.
Ten Basic Walking Etiquette Rules
1. Go with the flow on a crowded walkway and be aware that your actions can create a ripple effect interfering with the flow of walkers along the path of track.
2. Remain attentive and avoid distraction from phones. Be aware of what is happening around you. Walkers texting can plow straight into other walkers of the track or risk walking into the path of cars are road crossings. Try to step off the track to check you phone or make a call. This even applies to checking your directions using a map app.
3. Walk predictably on straight sections of the path or road. If you wander all over the track you will annoy other walkers.
4. When walking with friends, try to avoid more than two people abreast of each other. Allow room for others to maneuver around you. Respect the other walkers rights to use the track without interference.
5. Only pass someone when you can keep up the extra pace to keep ahead of them. someone who speeds up to pass you and then slows down so that they block your was can be very annoying.
6. Don’t dump litter on the track or spit on the path.
7. Stick to the left ( or right if that is the local rule). The rules on shared exercise paths generally follow the same rules as the local road rules for cars.
8. Expect the unexpected on a share path. Try to anticipate any unexpected problems ahead from cyclists, dogs or children and find ways of avoiding any impediments.
9. Always be courteous to runners, cyclists and other people using the path. Let cyclists, runners and fast walkers go past you without getting in their way.
10. Always be patient and enjoy yourself. Don't let any hassles on the path interfere or ruin your walking session and what yo want to achieve from it. Don't get angry about delays or 'road blocks' that tend to slow you down.
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson