Guilty as Charged...
There are just some things you shouldn't do as a runner, things we have ALL done at some point. I know quiet a few are things I have done, and the ones I haven't... well there is still time. That being said, there are things we should be conscious of, some Real things that are rude, and some Superstitious things that runners just "know". So here is my list...
1.) Food Hogging.... Okay, so this morning as I finished up a 5k/10k and was walking to grab a bottle of water, I noticed groups of people all holding 3-5 bags of chips, 2 bananas, and 2 waters. Ummmmm.... a 5k burns approximately 300 calories, and a 10k 600 calories. One bag of chips is 250 calories (ish), so 4 bags is 1000 calories. This is at least 400 more than you just burned. And quiet frankly it's rude. Race Directors order food based on the number or runners signed up, plus some extra. They DO NOT order enough for everyone to have 3 and 4 helpings. If you are THAT hungry, go buy a big bag and eat it. Seriously though! As someone who does a lot of the long distances; marathons and ultra marathons, I truly understand wanting to eat ALL the food at the end of the race, however the food at the end of a race is a nice privilege the race has. It is there to get you quick calories and hold you over until you go get a meal somewhere. It is not supposed to be your 5 course meal for the day
2.) Running 3-5 people across... This is one I am guilty of when I run with my people and have been trying hard to fix! I know its nice to run side by side with your crew. And it's nice to talk, but you are blocking the entire friggin sidewalk/path/trail. So okay, you are going to run with your crew and block the entire path, okay, that's fine... but when you hear someone say "Excuse Me", "On the left", or "Coming up behind you" and you continue to be 3-5 people across...well quite frankly... You Sir or Madam deserve to have an accidental elbow. (I would never actually physically accost someone, but I would think about it with glee). That is just rude. You would be super pissed if you weren't able to freely run because someone did that in front of you... so don't do it to others. And if we all continue to work on this together, there will be a lot less people gleefully elbowing people in their heads.
3.) Walking across the middle of a race... Ooooo I saw this happen today. People were coming into the finish from the 10k loop and another runner decided to cross the road when he Clearly DID NOT have time to get across. The runner pushing hard at the finish was not amused when his stride and pace got screwed. Although, he was much nicer about it then I would have been had I been racing it and someone stepped in front of me. WAIT until there aren't any runners. I mean, again... how pissed would you be if someone did that to you? AND then I saw another runner just standing on the course bs'ing with his buddy... I said something to him and he smirked. He also deserved a well placed elbow. Jerk
4.) Not following basic sides of the path/track rules... It is just like driving, slower on the right, faster on the left. I am not going to lie, this is one of my biggest pet peeves, and one I try to be very conscious of when I am running. Okay, so here's the deal, when you drive you pass on the left, so goes for running. That means if you know you are slower, then stay right. I am not the fastest runner, so I try to keep to the right of the trail/path/sidewalk, especially when I know there are going to be others out. That way faster runners can run past me with ease. And when I pass another runner, I announce I am coming on the left, I pass and then get back over. This also makes two way traffic on the pathways flow easier for runners, walkers, and bikers alike. If I am running in the middle, then I make sure I am listening for people behind me. ***Now on the track, faster runners in the 1st lane, slower runners in the 2nd/3rd lane, and walkers on the outside.
5.) Music so loud you can't hear the environment around you.... DANGER WILL ROBINSON! For Real People, if you can't hear me (I am not quiet) announcing that I am coming up because your music is so loud, you also are not going to hear: the mugger, the person who lost control of their dog and its headed toward you, the person warning you of something ahead, the car about to hit you, the bikers behind you, the axe murderer about to chop off your head, etc. If the person running by you can hear your music and sing along, It. Is. Too. Loud! Don't get me wrong, I love running with music and have no issue with people who run with it, but be smart. Rule of thumb, only use one ear bud. That way you can hear your tunes, audio book, podcast, whatever and still hear the environment around you. Don't want to do that... Okay, that's cool, then keep it low enough you can hear. This one is less about annoyance and more about Running Safety 101.
6.) Slow and Fast Shaming... Some people run slow, some people run fast, and ALL people run their pace and work hard for what they do. Nobody has a right to make judgy, snarky comments about it. And it goes both ways. As someone who is a moderate pace I see both sides of this issue. The people who are slower than you are working on their journey. Maybe they are new, maybe they are at their speed that they are content with, maybe they are working hard to get faster but either way, they deserve respect and support for the work they do. Faster runners work just as hard. They are also on their journey and working to better themselves and deserve support. I have gotten comments from people "I am going to just slow down and run with you, it will be nice to take a break"...well la-ti-da aren't you special, asshole. I have also gotten "You are way to fast for me, my pace would be like your walking pace"... ummm, I am not better than you and quite frankly it's kinda shitty that you assume I wouldn't run with you because we have different paces. My favorite phrase is "Fast is Subjective". Everyone has someone faster and slower than them. Be Kind and respect each other. I love my fast friends, and appreciate that they do slow down their pace to run with me, because they help me get faster. I love my same pace friends because it's even. And I love my slower friends, I love running their pace and helping them the way my fast friends help me. And MOST important, if I am running with you, that means I LIKE YOU and WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU! And that is more important than some number on a watch. I don't ask to or offer to run with people I don't like and I would be willing to bet that is true of most people.
7.) Last One- Starting at the front of the race when you damn well know you don't run a 6 min mile. I once had a runner who typically runs with the 10-11 min Galloway group come up to me at a 10k and tell me " I am starting with the 7 minute pacer because I don't want to have to elbow past people slower than me"...? ARE YOU FRICKIN KIDDING ME! Listen, I know it sucks to have to weave through people, but when you start further in front than your pace is, then you are causing the congestion. If all runners would start in the area of the corrals/start area that their pace called for, there would be less weaving and congestion because everyone would be running at their pace from the beginning ( ie within the first .25-.5 mile). If there are not pacers, then kinda figure 20 feet or so per minute pace. 6 min, 20 feet back 7 min, 20 feet back 8 minutes, etc etc etc. It is also a respect thing for other runners. If you know you don't run 6 min miles, then please don't cause congestion for those who do. I don't run 6 min miles, so I don't start at the front. It is that easy. And Please Please Please, everyone has that time in a race that they need to walk... Goodness knows how many races I have had that happen in!, Please move to the right of the course to walk. And look behind you, don't abruptly stop and walk when there are people right behind you. Run over to the side where there is a clear area and then walk.
These are just some basic "runner no-no's" that if everyone would just stop doing, then it would improve what is already a great thing, the running community! I am not innocent of these things by any stretch of the imagination, but awareness is the first step to change. I am aware that I have to continue to work on some of these myself, especially #2 and occasionally #6. So, lets work on them together :-)