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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’m running my first half marathon this year, but I kind of just want to do it in secret. Is it bad form not to tell my family and friends?
If you want to do something just for you, that’s not necessarily selfish. In this case, I think it’s empowering. There is a certain satisfaction to a secret accomplishment. Personally, I create them in very tiny ways for myself on my runs and I’m amazed at how great they make me feel. No one else knows, but it’s so gratifying to meet or surpass my goals. Support is also an amazing human capacity. It bonds us in the most incredible ways, but it’s not the only way to gain a sense of accomplishment.
My etiquette advice is to make sure you don’t cross into the territory of lying. Emily Post etiquette is founded on the principles of consideration, respect and honesty. Some friends or family might be hurt if they find out later that you didn’t share this with them. They are entitled to those feelings of disappointment, but your secret doesn’t actually harm them beyond the slight of being left out.
However, if you lie about where you are going and what you are doing, then you cross into territory that could damage trust with your friends and family. It’s not like training for a half marathon only takes a few minutes. I suggest that you plan your training time carefully and avoid lying to anyone about what you’re up to. With all that said, I think it’s wonderful that you want to accomplish this goal on your own and I wish you all the best!
Have a question for Lizzie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @WomensRunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.