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You Asked, We Answered: Running Etiquette Questions

We help with how to balance social life with running and running with your significant other.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

etiquette june

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: My friends always roll their eyes when I decline a Saturday night invite because of an early Sunday run. What’s the best way to respond?

You never have to apologize for your life and how you choose to live it! In an ideal world, your friends should support your healthy decisions—but that’s not always the way it goes. To look at this issue in a positive light, they likely just want to spend more time with you, which is a good problem.

If the eye rolls and comments are not something you can ignore, you can bring it up to them. “Guys, I appreciate that you want me to go out, but running is really important to me, and that means I need to take a pass when I have an early run.” A compromise: You might consider taking one Saturday a month to go out with your buddies and do a run later in the day on Sunday, or propose you all get together on a Friday night once in a while.

Related: What Type Of Running Buddy Are You?

Q: What’s the best type of greeting when I pass another runner?

A nod, a smile, a wave, “hi,” “morning,” “afternoon,” “evening,” “hey,” anything simple, short and friendly will do! Some runners are really focused and don’t acknowledge others, so if you don’t get a response, just chalk it up to focus and keep running.

Q: My husband seems to have unrealistic expectations of how fast I should be able to run. It’s super annoying, and it makes it tough to enjoy our runs together. What should I do?

Put him on a treadmill and crank up the speed. Kidding! You may have to get direct: “Honey, I love that you think so highly of my athletic ability and where I should be with my running, but this is where I am right now and I’m comfortable with it. The more I hear how I should run faster, the worse I feel about myself. I’d really love it if you would encourage me but let me build up my pace at my own speed.”

It might be best to do the majority of your runs apart. Running should be a time for you to unwind, not to get wound up. On days you do run together, set the expectations (exact pace and distance) beforehand and have a plan for what to do if one of you wants to speed up or slow down.

Related: So I Married An Ultrarunner

Run Etiquette:Make Room

When you’re running, it’s easy to get caught up in conversation, and before you know it, your group is four abreast and you’re holding up traffic. Opt for a single- or double-file policy when you’re on crowded roads or trails, and stay aware of any person, car or bicycle trying to pass.

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