Etiquette for Runners: On the track

26 Jul

The weather has finally been beautiful lately with lower temperatures and less humidity. On Wednesday evening I took advantage of the gorgeousness and headed to the high school track for another round of 600 meter breakdowns. Have to keep working on some speed for upcoming races – a 5K next Saturday and a half marathon on August 10!

600 meter breakdowns


1.7 mile warmup, stretch

600m – 2:10 (5:37 pace)

400m – 1:31 (5:57 pace)

300m – 1:11 (6:11 pace)

200m – 0:44 (5:39 pace)

1.75 cooldown, stretch

Total: 5 miles, 48:00

This workout kicked my butt! I didn’t feel as fast and strong as I did last time I hit the track and it took my lungs a long time to recover. I’m going to attribute that to the strong headwind on the back stretch of the track, I was definitely sucking some wind and it hurt!

tracksunset_rbbSeveral other people had the same idea about the track and were getting their run on as well. Awesome! However, I think a couple of the track goers could have used a little lesson in etiquette. So I will just leave a few tips here and maybe somehow this information will find its way to them. I’ve also added some general points that can be helpful to anyone considering a track workout and wondering about the do’s and don’ts.

  • A little friendliness goes a long way. If someone nods, waves, says hi, etc. and you aren’t in mid-sprint, at least smile or nod back for crying out loud.
  • Run counterclockwise. Unless you’re on a track south of the equator.
  • If others are on the track, reserve the innermost lanes for people doing speedwork or going at a faster pace. If you’re moving slow or walking, take an outer lane.
  • If you’re passing someone in the same lane, pass on the right.
  • If you’re coming up behind someone or passing, let them know by calling something out such as, “behind,” or “on your right.” This can help avoid collisions in case the person you’re passing suddenly decides to switch lanes.
  • If you bring any gear, stash it on the grass, on the bleachers, or anywhere nearby that is off the track surface.
  • Stretch in an area out of everyone’s way.
  • Unless everyone else is in agreement with your choice in music, don’t blast your tunes at max decibels.
  • Check the track schedule to make sure there aren’t any practices or events going on. It’s also helpful to find out any policies the school or facility has.

There you have it! Now you can head to the track with some confidence and manners.

Question for you: Any track rules you would add? Have a bad track manners story to share?


4 Responses to “Etiquette for Runners: On the track”

  1. Diana July 27, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    I’ve never run on a track, but runners (and bikers) on paths/trails here pass on the left. Is there a reason to pass on the right on a track?

    • Nikki July 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Tracks are different because they’re ovals and have clearly marked lanes, making them a little different in terms of etiquette (and regulation). If you’re on the innermost lane on a track, passing on the left means running on the infield. That could mean a sprained ankle, etc. (If you’re in a race, that means disqualification.) On a trail, passing on the left is customary because you stick to the right when you’re running/biking, etc.

      • Diana July 28, 2013 at 8:29 am #

        Oh, duh. That makes total sense. Sorry. Obviously my brain was not working. =) Thanks!

      • Nikki July 28, 2013 at 9:10 am #

        No worries! If you haven’t run on the track it’s kind of hard to picture! 🙂

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