Rules of running: you SHOULDN'T do these 10 things on the road or elsewhere

The rules of running are simple: just follow the basic run etiquette described here and you should be fine

rules of running
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Runners do weird things. They like discussing anything running related with people who don't know anything about running, for example. They also tend to chat about their bodily functions very openly, which is okay I guess, but maybe not at work. If you would like to be a runner but don't want to be an oddball, follow the rules of running, listed below.

Are you a runner? Nice! Do you run often? Even better! Do you like discussing what are the best running shoes and which one is the best running watch on the market today with your colleagues? Err...fine I guess? Do you like picking dead skin off the soles of your feet around other people? Now, that is just plain wrong.

Runners come in many shapes and sizes and truth to be told, there are more and more runners on the streets, for better or worse. Running has a range of health benefits – many of which are listed in this article about why should you try running – and it can positively impact your mood too, so it's understandable why many people are keen on trying out this sport.

On the other hand, once people realise how great running is, they tend to go a bit crazy about it and advertise their efforts to everyone as well as shoehorning the subject of running into every possible conversation they might have. Not to mention a few (many?) other behaviours runners take on that others might find bothersome, to put it mildly.

If you like running but don't want to be a social cast out, try to avoid doing the following ten things...

Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Running Watch | Buy it at Garmin for £249.90

Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Running Watch | Buy it at Garmin for £249.90
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the ultimate smartphone-free GPS running watch for the price conscious runner. The GPS + GLONASS + GALILEO positioning system is quick and accurate, tracking your movement outdoors with high precision. The battery can last up to seven days in smartwatch mode and six hours in GPS mode with music, meaning that you won't have to charge it more than three times in two weeks.

Running etiquette 101

New PB? Others might not be too interested.

(Image credit: Garmin)

1. DON'T assume people care about your running efforts

Running is great and if you are one of the few people who find running less of chore and more of a joyful, recreational activity, consider yourself lucky. You might even go for a jog every day, before or after work, just to help your metabolism or reduce stress in your body and that is admirable.

What is not great is telling everyone you went for a run/will go for a run later. Or walking up to people at work and telling them how your feet felt this morning. Or that your socks got wet or that you've seen a weird pigeon during your run.

You can of course mention to people the peculiarities that happened to you (e.g. weird pigeon encounter), but try not to attach the 'run' bit to everything. You can just say, "I saw a pigeon this morning, it was weird", no need to add "...while I was doing my morning 5K with a pace of 5:03 per km using my Asics Gel Nimbus 22, which I like more than the 21 because the cushioning is better under the heels..." Super easy.

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Fitbit Ionic Fitness Smartwatch | Sale Price £185 | Was £249.99 | You save £64.99 at Amazon UK
The Ionic is much like the Versa, but with a bigger screen and it comes with integrated GPS too. The Fitbit Ionic is also water rated to 5 ATM, supports contactless payments and can store music on the watch itself. As such, the Fitbit Ionic is the best Fitbit for more serious outdoor exercisers. 

Running etiquette 101

Talking to other members of your running group about running: cool. Anyone else: not cool

(Image credit: Adidas)

2. DON'T talk about running all the time

Someone might ask you, "Have you seen Parasite? Such a great movie, right!?", to which you can answer, "yes I have and I agree", but not "I haven't because I was doing my Sunday long run then I pooped, stretched, showered and was browsing running shoes online and read reviews about the new Garmin, you know, the Forerunner 945, ..."

You have to accept the fact that other people around you might not be as obsessed with running as you are. Just because you run often, that doesn't make running a character trait, just like "I like to travel and also I am a HUGE foodie" doesn't make you sound interesting on Tinder.

If someone asks you about running, feel free to chat about it. Otherwise, try to talk about running to people who are also interested in running.

Running etiquette 101

Cleanse yourself

(Image credit: Getty)

3. DON'T forget to shower after your lunch run

A lot of office workers like to do physical activities during their lunch break, let it be a full body HIIT workout or just a midday jog. They also get really sweaty, which is completely understandable since they get their heart rate up and put their bodies through its paces.

What is not cool is going back to your desk – or respective workstation – still sweaty, smelly, wearing your workout tights and tops, devouring whatever stuff you brought for lunch, at your table. That just makes other people uncomfortable around you who are just trying to browse their Facebook feeds in peace.

If your workplace haven't got showering facilities and there is no way you can clean yourself, even with just a flannel and some soap in the disabled toilet, then try to refrain yourself from doing anything physical that'll make you sweat. You can run back home after work or have a shower in the gym. Keeping yourself clean is equally as important as exercising regularly.

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SIXPAD Electric Muscle Stimulation Training Gear | Prices from £175 at Amazon
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Running etiquette 101

Often run at 3 am? As long as you keep it yourself.

(Image credit: CEP)

4. DON'T do weird "runner things" around other people

For whatever reason, runners do a lot of weird things, like discussing and being (too) open about their bodily functions or perhaps tending to their bare feet/picking their toenails in the middle of the living room. The issue is not that runners are more in sync with their bodies – that's great, actually – but that they assume everyone else is in tune with it, too.

Healthy nails are important, but just like everyone else, you should look after them in your private time, not during a family meal. Also, having a regular bowel movement is also admirable, but it's also not a subject other people like to discuss often. Try to find a balance between regular maintenance of your body and not doing it around people. It's easier than you think.

Running etiquette 101

Keep to one side of the pavement

(Image credit: CEP)

5. DON'T hog the pavement as you run

I know, everyone should give way as you approach them on the street and you can also just run right in the middle of the pavement since there is no way anyone could possibly be faster than you, right?

The sad truth is, this is not how the world works. Self-entitlement is the poison of our society and if everyone would be just a little bit more humble, we would be living in a much better world. And as much as you can't control what other people do, you can still have control over your own action, regardless.

So, next time you go for a run, have a look around before you overtake people. Make sure you keep to one side of the pavement. If you run as part of a running group, try to arrange yourself in pairs or even in a single file if otherwise you'd block the footpath. Be sensible and aware of your surroundings.

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AfterShokz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones | Buy it for £149.95 at Amazon
Probably the best type of audio listening device for runners, bone conducting headphones go around your ears, enabling you to be more spacially aware. The AfterShokz Aeropex's sound quality is amazing, weighs only 26 grams, is IP67 water rated and has a battery life up to eight hours. Perfect for runners, cyclists and even for work when you can't isolate yourself from your surroundings but still want to listen to some sweet tunes.

rules of running

When it's dark, wear a headtorch

(Image credit: Spartan Race)

6. DON'T break traffic rules

It is tempting. Running on the road in your black running tights and top, five in the morning. No one's around, there is no way you'll get hit by anything. You pop those noise cancelling headphones on and off you go!

What you don't take into account is that others might think exactly the same as you. Cyclists might go to work without any lights on. Electric cars don't make much noise and would be hard to hear them approach, even without earphones on. Other runners might venture out into the dark wearing zero reflective apparel.

One way to avoid any unnecessary accidents is to comply to the traffic rules. Don't run where you are not supposed to run. Stop at red lights. Don't assume cars and cyclist can see you just because you can see yourself looking down on your legs. If they notice you too late, you will be the one who'll get hurt the most.

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PETZL Actik Core Headlamp | Sale price £37.49 | Was £52.27 | You save 15.08 (29%) at Amazon
The rechargeable Actic Core headlamp offers 450 lumens of power, which, along with its multi-beam design, makes it ideal for many outdoor activities, including running, hiking and backpacking. Red lighting preserves night vision and prevents members of a group from blinding each other – always a good thing! Even the headband is reflective to provide even more night visibility. This headlamp comes with the CORE rechargeable battery and is also compatible with three AAA/LR03 batteries (not included), thanks to the HYBRID CONCEPT design.

Running etiquette 101

Strava is a great place to discuss sporting activities

(Image credit: Strava)

7. DON'T spam others' social media feed with running content

Found a great the Polar Vantage V review or Coros Pace 2 online? Brill. Better share it with everyone on social, sure they will enjoy it as much as you do. And all the memes about running too, that will make non-runners laugh. Maybe this listicle about ten things you shouldn't do as a runner, that'll make you super popular online.

Let's face it: spamming other people's social feed is not cool and just because you enjoy reading articles about running and running gear, that doesn't mean everyone else will enjoy it, too. The worst sin probably is sharing every single one of your running workout on Facebook and Twitter.

You'd be happy to hear, there are places online where people won't mind seeing your every run, on the contrary. Social networks like Strava are a great place to track and share runs, cycling activities and more. there, people love poring over others' physical activities and don't mind discussing anything related to these sports. Keep FB for baby photos and Minion memes only.

Running etiquette 101

Great looks; not in the office though

(Image credit: Fitbit)

8. DON'T wear running apparel all the time

You just bought a pair of the best compression tights and you want the world to see it. Especially your colleagues. They will also love your tight fitting running top and your running shoes. Maybe, somehow, you can even wear that cool neck tube you bought on Wiggle, too.

Wearing the appropriate running apparel can help you in many ways: it can oxygenate your muscles and also keep them warm, wick away sweat and so on. You can, however, only enjoy these benefits by running in them, not sitting in the office. Running clothing is not the correct attire in most work environments and will make your colleagues cringe for sure. Keep the tights in your gym bag and wear on your runs, please.

Running etiquette 101

Some like it indoors, some not

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9. DON'T assume everyone runs for the same reason

It's a great feeling when you have people asking you about stuff like how to train for a half marathon or what is the best supplement for runners (I'd say protein powder should be on the top of that list). Once you established yourself as an authority in running – considering you are approachable in general – people will ask you questions.

What is not cool to give people unsolicited advice about running (or on any subject for that matter). Mary, who clearly jogs to lose weight fast, is probably not interested in improving her 5K time. Paul, who is going through a divorce and wants to get away from it all, will not want his form and foot placing to be analysed either.

The greatest thing about running is that it can be different for everyone. Some might run to improve their cardiovascular health, others to lose weight. Many people run competitively but even they can target different distances and principles and therefore have completely different goals. A person competing in 5K road races will train differently than an ultra-marathon trail runner. Not to mention track sprinters.

Running etiquette 101

Find the joy of running 

(Image credit: Brooks Running)

10. DON'T forget to enjoy running

Although we might be running for different reasons but one thing is for sure: we all love running. It is a great sport and has more benefits than drawbacks (if it has any at all). Whether you prefer indoor runs using Zwift or outdoor runs on the road, make sure you stay present and enjoy the activity when you do it.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.