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How to Behave During Group Running

10 Etiquette Tips for Group Runs

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Updated March 20, 2014

Running with a group has numerous benefits, especially when running long distances. The miles go a lot faster when you're talking with other runners, and it's always nice to know someone has got your back if you hit a rough spot. But group running also requires that you follow some basic etiquette and behavior rules. Here's how to make sure you stay safe and don't annoy your fellow runners:

1. Establish some rules upfront.

grouptrailrunning.jpg
Sam Diephuis/The Image Bank
Make sure everyone agrees to a certain set of rules before you head out. For example, do you wait for those who have to stop to go to the bathroom, or does the person who stops have to catch up? If everyone knows the basic rules beforehand, it will avoid possible conflicts or misunderstandings during the run.

2. Leave your headphones and dogs at home.

Sure, music helps push some runners along, but it's anti-social to wear headphones during a group run. It can also be dangerous because listening to music means you'll be less aware of your surroundings and you won't be able to hear instructions from other runners in your group. And, while your dog may be friendly and an excellent runner, he may make other runners nervous and uncomfortable. Promise your dog you'll run with him on your own.
Also see: 6 Tips for Running Without Music
5 Ways to Be a More Social Runner

3. Don't jingle.

Running with coins or keys in your pocket may not bother you, but you can bet that it will annoy at least one person in your group.

4. Be punctual.

Show up early or on-time for the start of runs. It's not fair to the people who make an effort to get there on time that they have to wait for late-comers.

5. Be familiar with the route.

If your group leader distributes a route description before the run, make sure you're familiar with it. It's not fair to expect other runners to make sure you don't get lost.
Also see: Running Safety Rules

6. Be prepared with what you need.

Don't expect to rely on other runners for supplies. Carry your own water and nutrition, as well as some cash, just in case you need it.
Also see: Best Water Bottles and Carriers
Best Running Belts

7. Don't be a road hog.

Make sure you're running no more than two abreast, especially on busy roads, sidewalks, or trails, so that other runners and cyclists can easily pass. Be aware of any special rules for running in parks or on trails, such as running in a clockwise direction on a loop course.
Also see: Road Running Etiquette Rules

8. Be silent sometimes.

Runners join groups for the social element, but that doesn't mean they want to hear the same person talk non-stop about their running accomplishments, injuries, or life problems during every run. Ask people, especially the newer members of the group, questions to give them a chance to speak.

9. Keep it clean.

Yes, adult topics do come up during group runs, but watch your language (no four-letter words) and conversation content. Don't push the topics to the point where people start to feel uncomfortable.

10. Don't let one person be the workhorse.

Try to spread the load among the whole group. If you're running into the wind, take turns running in the front so everyone gets the benefit of drafting. Also, if you're sharing supplies such as a water bottle or food, take turns carrying it.
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