When was the last time you went running in your neighborhood? It’s a great way to clear your mind and re-focus especially after a busy day. Don’t let the clutter in your mind prevent you from being safe while you’re exercising. Here are my tips for road running etiquette to help you get started:
1. Run like a Salmon. One of the safest actions you can do as a runner is to run against the traffic, like a salmon swimming upstream. If it’s available and legal, I recommend running in a bicycle lane as opposed to the sidewalk. The black top is more forgiving than a sidewalk and you’re less likely to get injured tripping on driveways and curbs.
2. Share the Path. You’re not the only one out on the road. Make an effort to share the path by announcing when you’re passing someone. Say, “On your left,” to let them know you’re passing on the left. They can be sure to clear a path for you to pass. Pay attention because not everyone may hear you (see #5).
3. Race for the Finish Line. If you’re in a road race and new to running, stay in the back or middle of the starting pack. You might think being first out of the gate is best, but you’re actually creating an unsafe situation for the faster runners behind you. The fastest runners should be at the front of the pack otherwise they have to navigate around you as they pace.
4. Be Nice to Your Neighbors. Have you ever said hello to someone while you’re on a run and they don’t say hello or wave back? Running is good exercise but it’s also about being part of a community. And that community waves and acknowledges people that we pass on our runs. The next time you’re out, give a nod or a wave to the runners, walkers, bicyclists, and neighbors as you pass. It’s the nice thing to do.
5. Pump Up the Jam. While you might like musical inspiration on your run, it’s important to keep personal safety your highest priority. Keep the music at a volume where you can still hear and respond to traffic, bicyclists, walkers, or runners in your path. You wouldn’t want to miss a honking horn or an “on your left” especially if it saves you from getting injured or worse.
Staying safe while you’re road running is part of the overall experience. Strap on the running shoes and let’s enjoy the darn-near-perfect Phoenix weather!