Being a Social Runner on the Road – 5 Tips

Whenever you go for a run, you stop for other traffic, make sure you are visible, and are friendly when you want to pass a two pedestrians occupying the entire pavement, right?

I always thought I was doing alright on the road. I’m not totally innocent (I often don’t respect the red light and can be quite a daredevil when running) but I never thought too much of it. Until I took a step back from running, that is. Suddenly, I realized how many runners tend to take themselves a tad too seriously, and when they are training everything and everyone needs to give way. Especially when they’re in their own world during those taxing interval trainings, or those comfortably uncomfortable tempo runs.

So evaluate your bahavior in all honesty: Could you use a little reminder of how to behave on the road when you are in your runners’ zone? Then read on and start being a more social runner today!

1. Respect other traffic

I am the first one to admit that I like to run every consecutive interval a bit faster than the previous one. And I hate having to stop for the traffic light, especially when I am doing a long run with an amazing average pace that will be ruined because of the wait. (I know I could pause my phone but that feat usually takes longer for me to achieve than waiting for the green light.) Even so, I try to be respectful of the other traffic, because I know there is nothing scarier than a pedestrian suddenly passing in front of you when you’re driving a car. And honestly, is your training pace really that important to risk ending up in the hospital – or worse?

2. Put yourself in the shoes of whoever you are passing

Oh, those leisurely pedestrians who like to occupy the entire pavement, deeply engaged in their confessions and discussions. They are a nuisance to pass, but don’t you also walk next to your partner/friend/child/parent rather than behind them when you’re going out for a stroll? Letting them know politely and well ahead that you would like to pass is often enough to avoid a clash.

3. Be visible at all times

When running in the dark, wear reflective clothing and preferably a light as well. But even during the day it is important to be visible, especially on gloomy winter days. Fortunately, running clothes are usually very colorful, so there is plenty to choose from.

4. Be audible

Just as it is important to be visible at all times, being audible goes a long way as well. As I mentioned in the second point, just excusing yourself for passing is enough to avoid giving other road users a heart attack. Sometimes I run with my keys in my pocket and the annoying bouncing up and down of them aside, they do actually help me be audible, making it easier to pass other pedestrians.

5. Join a race or train on the track

If you must break that personal best or run your interval on the second – and honestly, don’t we all? – then why not join a race or train on the track? That way you can fully concentrate on your run without having to share the road with others, worrying about traffic lights, or making sure you are wearing your most reflective clothes. I only strive for new PBs when I am running a race and if I could, I would do all my intervals on the track.

Be social, also when you’re in the middle of a runner’s high!



3 thoughts on “Being a Social Runner on the Road – 5 Tips

  1. Ahmed says:

    Now I feel guilty about the way I passed that old lady at the lake today. She was shocked and could’ve ended up having a hard attack.
    I will try to be more audioable from now on, also when cycling.

  2. benjaminpeach says:

    Totally agree! I once backtracked to excuse myself to a lady I “pushed” on a mountain trail. I didn’t push her physically, but I was so caught up in my own run / universe I didn’t realise how rude I was huffing and puffing behind her. All I could think about was my time. I slapped myself in the face after passing her in a clearing and went back to excuse myself. She just laughed and said I seemed to be in a great hurry… 😉

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