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Is There Running Etiquette? The secret rules for Your Daily Jog or Run

Two people having fun running on a beach

So you’ve strapped on your new running shoes, your playlist is loaded with upbeat tunes, and you’re all set to pound the pavement. Hold up, speedy! Before you dash off, let’s chat about the less-discussed yet hugely important aspect of running: etiquette.

Running etiquette may not have the same ring as “personal best time” or “endorphin rush”, but trust us, understanding these unwritten rules will help you be a friendlier, safer, and overall better runner. Plus, they ensure everyone on the trail, track, or sidewalk enjoys their workout as much as you do.

Stay on the Right, Pass on the Left

Picture this: you’re zipping along the track, you see a fellow jogger ahead, and bam! You run right into them. No one wants to be part of this collision course! Stick to the right side, just like driving, and pass on the left. Remember to offer a quick “on your left” as you approach to give them a heads up.

Respect Personal Space

Don’t you love the feeling of the wind whooshing through your hair, the ground beneath your feet…and another runner right on your heels? No? Didn’t think so. Maintain a respectful distance between yourself and others. That way, you avoid surprising (or worse, tripping) others, while giving everyone ample breathing space.

Nix the Noise

Your running playlist might feature heart-pounding rock, energizing pop, or even a gripping podcast, but remember that not everyone shares your tastes. Keep your volume at a level where you can still hear your surroundings. Better yet, consider using only one earbud when in populated areas.

Be Mindful with Your Pup

Running with your furry friend is a double win: you both get exercise, and your pup gets to explore. But remember, not everyone may share your love for dogs, or perhaps they have allergies or fears. Keep your dog on a short leash when running and always clean up after them.

Ditch the Litter

Energy gel packets, water bottles, snack wrappers—what do these all have in common? They belong in a bin, not on the ground. Keep a small bag with you for trash, or hold onto it until you can properly dispose of it. Let’s keep our running routes as clean as our post-run high.

Stay Aware and Alert

Whether you’re jogging through a peaceful park or bustling city streets, being aware of your surroundings is key to your safety and the safety of others. This means watching out for pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic, and obeying all traffic laws and signals.


Master the Nod

This one’s a classic. The subtle nod or wave to your fellow runners isn’t just about being friendly (though that’s a bonus!). It’s about acknowledging shared effort and camaraderie. When asked about the ‘runner’s nod,’ personal trainer and avid marathoner, Chris Thompson, said, “It’s an unspoken language. It says, ‘I see your hard work and I respect it.’ It’s a beautiful part of the running community.”

Don’t Hog the Track or Trail

If you’re running in a group, try not to take up the entire path or trail. It’s great that you’re enjoying each other’s company, but ensure other runners, joggers, and cyclists can pass by easily.

Manage Your Selfies

Who doesn’t love a good post-run selfie to show off that ‘I just conquered the world’ glow? But be mindful when capturing your achievement. Make sure your photo ops don’t disrupt other runners or inadvertently invade their privacy.

Speak Up, But Politely

Sometimes you may need to alert others on the path—a cyclist riding too fast, a walker engrossed in their book, a runner about to step into a pothole. A friendly shout out can prevent mishaps. Just remember, the key word here is ‘friendly.’

Etiquette might seem like a trivial concern when compared to reaching your personal goals or achieving that endorphin high. But adopting these habits creates an atmosphere of respect and camaraderie among runners, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Running is a shared journey, a collective experience of putting one foot in front of the other. It’s sweaty. It’s rewarding. And, with a little bit of etiquette, it’s a whole lot more fun. So, tie up those laces, turn on your favorite tunes, and get running. And remember, be kind and share the path. Because, as Chris Thompson said, “Running isn’t a solitary sport. It’s a community. And the more we respect each other, the stronger that community becomes.”

Happy running, folks! Now, go out there and show the world your best (and most polite) runner’s stride.

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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