Etiquette expert Lizzie Post answers this and other questions.
Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!
Q: I met my ex-boyfriend in my running group. We broke up and are on okay terms, but the workouts are getting awkward. Who gets the run club in the split? I was a member first!
I’m a big fan of “first come, first served.” I would say that you get the running group, however, the reality is that if it’s a public group, it’s very hard to tactfully ask him to leave. Your best bet is to talk to him and find out if he understands the awkwardness you feel.
Try something like, “Nick, I’m glad we’ve been able to keep things friendly, but I’m starting to feel awkward about ________ when it comes to the run club. It’s enough to make me wonder if you’d be willing to switch groups or help find a solution that works for both of us.” Maybe the running group isn’t as important to him, or you can split group workouts by alternating. Either way, getting it out in the open (gently) will get the ball rolling toward a solution.
Related: Balancing Running And Relationships
Q: I like to run races to raise money for charity. How often can I hit up friends and family for donations without seeming rude?
This is a tough one, but kudos to you for making running something that benefits you AND others! I think it’s best to talk to the people you reach out to the most about the charity runs that you do, and get their buy-in for you to approach them regularly about contributing. “Sara, thank you so much for supporting me in my last charity run. I do them frequently. Is it okay to ask you again when my next charity run comes along? I know you may not be able to contribute each time, but every little bit helps, and I just don’t want to over ask.” And for people who do want to support you each time you run, let them know that you understand if their donation can’t be the same amount each time. You can also try rotating whom you ask to contribute when.
Q: When is it appropriate to spit or snot rocket when running? (Sorry, I’m gross!)
I deal with this EVERY run! It is okay to spit when you run. It’s just how you do it that matters. Spit to the side of the path, trail, road or sidewalk where you’re running, since it’s courteous to others whose feet come after yours. Also pay attention to the wind: You don’t want to spit to the side only to have a strong gust cause it to hit or spray on someone nearby. Give a glance around so you can avoid anyone close to you at the time you need to spit. Either step to the side or create some distance.
I’m still waiting for someone to design a wristlet or a long-sleeved shirt that has a little Kleenex pocket in the wrist, so that you can easily blow your nose rather than have to shoot a snot rocket—something my boy cousins on the Post side of my family never taught me to master. But the same advice goes for snot rockets: Just try to be discreet and keep it away from others.
Have a question for Lizzie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.