Runner Etiquette: Picking Corrals And Road Safety

Lizzie A Post answers all of your runner etiquette questions.

race etiquette

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: At races, my friend always wants to move up a few corrals, but this isn’t the right pace for me—or really her either. How do I tell her no?

This is a situation where I think it’s best to separate. You take ownership of what you know your body can do. When she mentions it again, say something like, “If you feel you can, you go for it! I know I’m not ready, so I’m going to stay where I’m at.” Either she’ll try it and it’ll work, or she’ll be back with you after a few attempts.

Q: For newly pregnant runners, how do you explain your absence from workouts to running friends without letting your pregnancy secret slip?

If you choose to keep your early pregnancy a secret and decide to ease up on running, there isn’t much you can do other than to simply say, “I’m sorry I won’t be able to run with you for a while. A few things in my life have changed and, unfortunately, I have to pass on the workouts for now. I’ll let you know as soon as I can run again.”

Related: The Scoop On Running Through Pregnancy

Q: What do you say to family and friends when they refer to every distance as a marathon?

Understand that this is just their perspective and to them you are an Olympian! Some people start out only being able to run a short distance and have to build up. Others have always been able to just run and run and run. It’s different for everyone. If I were you, I would simply let their impression be what it is, or answer with a gentle, “Well, this race won’t be the full 26.2 miles, but it will be a challenge.”

Q: What do you do when well-meaning drivers stop in the middle of a multi-lane road to let you cross when there’s a green light? I don’t want the car one lane over to hit me!

It brings new meaning to the phrase “kindness kills,” doesn’t it? I usually try to acknowledge the driver’s effort but make a motion that lets her know that other traffic won’t allow me to take her up on it. I might point behind the car or give a wave and say, “Thanks! But I can’t!” and then motion my hand side to side (kind of like a ref ’s “no goal” but with one hand). It usually gets the point across. The big thing to try to communicate is your appreciation.

Related: New Apps To Keep Runners Safe

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