Culture

Runner Etiquette: High Fives And Trail Times

Etiquette expert Lizzie Post has the answers to two common running questions.

High Five

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: Is it appropriate to high-five another runner on the trails during an out-and-back portion?

A: You can try, but bear in mind some people just aren’t into it. Don’t be surprised if you get mixed reactions ranging from genuine gratitude and enthusiastic high-fives in return, to frowns (unnecessary IMHO) or even being completely ignored. I wouldn’t judge those who just ignore you. It’s just not their style and they may be completely zoned into their run or don’t want to lose focus.

Q: How do I explain why my time in a trail 5K is so much slower than my normal 5K time to non-trail-runner friends—without sounding like a jerk?

A: It took me a minute to figure out why you think you might come across as a jerk, but then I got it. Let’s face it: Trail running is a different beast. I think you have to take the competition out of the conversation for this to go well.

The best bet is to keep it simple and lead from your perspective. “For me, trail running requires a different technique and running style, so I tend to have slower times in these races.” This will sound much more reasonable than: “Well, come on, trail running is way harder than a flat and fast road race.” When it comes to comparing any sport to another, always acknowledge the differences, hardships and benefits of each.

Have a question for Lizzie? Email editorial@womensrunning.com or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.

Read On For Some More Running Etiquette:
Pre-Race Etiquette—To Wait In Line Or Find A Tree
How To Deal With A Pace Pushing Training Partner