Runner Etiquette: Sharing Water Bottles and Competitive Partners

What to do if you don't want to share your post-run water bottle and other etiquette answers!

water bottle 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: I have a friend who is super competitive. She always asks if I ran that day and brags about how early she rises to go running. I love to run, but I’m not as competitive as she is. What’s the best way to respond when I’m not digging the constant run chat?

The best thing to do is ignore the competitive part and address the situation from a conversational point of view. So when she says, “I got up at 5:50 a.m. to run!” You can then chose to tell her when you got up to run, or simply move to a different topic.

If she starts getting competitive about race times, it’s fine for you to decline to share what your time was: “Oh, I just race against myself so I prefer not to share my time.”

When you remove the competition from the conversation—in other words, don’t try to one-up her—she’ll have nothing to compete against.

Related: Should A Running Buddy Wear Headphones?

Q: I carry a bottle during runs and my buddy always asks for a sip. I comply, but it sort of grosses me out. How can I politely tell her no?

It’s okay to speak up. Before your next run together, tell your buddy that you’d prefer it if she brought her own water bottle: “It would be great if you could bring your own water bottle on our next run. I know I’ve shared in the past, but I really prefer not to.” Keep it simple; you don’t need a million reasons as to why you don’t want to share. Another option would be to bring an extra bottle for your friend.

Related: Pace-Pushing Training Partners

Q: What’s the appropriate amount of time to wait for a friend when he is running late for the start of a run-date?

It’s best to establish a “grace period” with your running buddy ahead of time: “Let’s meet at 5:45 at the bike path. But the run starts at 6, no matter what.” Also it’s a good idea to let your friend know if you’ll have your phone with you or not. Not everyone likes to run with a phone, and there could be some confusion if your friend is texting/calling to say he’ll be late and you just think he’s skipping out on the run. Clear communication of your plan beforehand will prevent this from being an issue.

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