It is my understanding that most of those athletes who read my blog don’t need my remarks on how to conduct training and specially the sports etiquette, but it is our duty to spread the word because I am sure that I am not the only one who suffers in silence of those issues. Couple years ago I was talking to a friend who is a Social Worker and she told me, why instead of complaining don’t you do something about it, have a glass of wine and write about it. At the time I walked away from that discussion thinking I wouldn’t be able to make changes, which nobody would care or help me changing anything. Well boy was I wrong. Few weeks ago I have wrote about Lap Swimming Etiquette and my blog post got well over 200 hits and more than one hundred shares. Someone even made a condensed version and sent it to the local papers. Now did it make a difference in the pool, maybe, maybe not “YET” but eventually it will. So thanks for those who got involve and let’s hope this blog post will also spread like wild fire.
So while I was talking to pro runner, competitive athletes and enthusiastic Sunday morning runners we all came up to few rules or guide lines if you will. Doesn’t matter if its on a local dirt track or a high end Olympic calibrated run track, those are some accepted practices or like I enjoy to call it “Run Track Etiquette”.
Here they are:
1. If you find yourself alone on a track it really doesn’t matter to anyone which direction you’re going, it’s also the perfect time to try turning right for a change.
In the presence of others athletes you should take the following principles in consideration.
2. Some facilities have dedicated direction for the day of the week, if it is the case, follow that rule, same goes for the designated run/walk lanes. In CFB Petawawa DunDonald Hall the direction change every day, and the walk/run lanes are marked in the track itself.
3. Run counter-clockwise, to make it easy for you, you should always turn left. If you decide to run clockwise or turning right, it’s your choice but you should run on the outside lane of the track. Stay out of the way of runners who are training and running in the accepted direction.
4. Stay alert and don’t use ear phones or dime down the volume so you can ear if someone is saying something to you while running. Very often will you know which side a faster runner will pass you by the sounds he make with his foot or plain and simple, he or she will tell you. Look both ways before entering onto a track. Even the most experienced runner have been caught by surprise.
5. Bicycles, scooters, roller blades, etc. should not allowed on tracks. For the most part animals are restricted from tracks. Even if they aren’t, it is wise not to allow them for safety reasons. If you do bring a pet, be sure it is secured away from the running surface and of course clean up after it. Tracks are designed for humans to run and walk on. Just try dodging a straying dog while running full tilt is way easier said than done, plus if we wanted to dodge dogs we would go do our training on the road! The fact is that even leashes aren’t secure enough nor short enough and as you think your dog is behaving very well, he will give himself some loose and that loose is just what you don’t want while you’re coming by on a full sprint.
6. The faster the runner, the more inside the lane reserved for him or her. Tracks with lanes are numbered from inside (nearest the infield or field house) to the outside (usually near the bleachers or wall). Most commonly they are from 1-4 to 1-8 depending how big is the track. In the case of a 4 lanes track which is the most common in the Canadian Forces; Lanes 1 & 2 are reserved for runners, lane 1 should be for the fastest ones, lane 2 is for the next faster runners. Lane 3 & 4 would be joggers and walking.
7. It’s ok for slower runners to run further inside but be alert to move when faster runners approach from behind. It is far more dangerous for a fast runner to change lanes and pass. The main idea is, keep your Situation Awareness (SA) up at all time by looking and lessoning of what’s going on around you. That also go for those who perform sprints, once the distance or interval has been reached and your slowing down quickly, look behind then change lanes if it is require and safe to do so, remember that a runner behind you might already started to adjust his course according to this SA.
8. If you are the faster runner and you are approaching from behind, give ample notice and call-out (just like with cycling). The traditional phrase to use it “track”. Which means move over someone faster is coming through. You can alternatively use “on your left” or “on the inside” to indicate you are coming by on the inside. Do not go whizzing by an inch from someone’s shoulder as if to non-verbally say “get out of my way”. This is rude! It can also startle someone who then may in fact move into your path causing a full collision.
9. If you hear “track” or “on your left” or “on the inside” either move directly off to the infield (in the case of just walking or having just stopped from your run) or move out to lane 2 or 3 or so. If there are no lanes, move out about 4-6 feet. But the most important thing to know if you don’t know what to do or simply didn’t understand exactly what was said, stay put or carrion in the same direction. Keep your SA up before making a radical move.
10. It’s ok to politely mention to someone on the inside lane that you will be doing a workout in lane 1 and would they mind moving out a lane. Just stay polite and explain that you will perform intervals, sprint or high tempo training and you just want to make sure no one gets injured.
11. If a track team is working out on the track – they take priority over individuals. If you can workout on the farthest outside lanes without interfering and the coaches allow you, then do so. Otherwise, come back another time. This of course is very frustrating. If you are on a DND facility, you may think that as a CF member that track is there for you to use as you please but in fact if a team has booked the track, they most then likely have paid for it and they own it for the time being, and are liable for everything happening on the track while they use it.
12. It is always encouraged for responsible children and parents to come out to train. It’s good parental role modeling for the kids even if they aren’t running or walking. It’s also something that many single parents have to resort to. Bring balls and activities to keep them busy. Often you can even get them to run some laps. However, not all children have the self-control necessary. You know your child best. Please consider all the others on the track and obviously your children, no one want to be the one who injured your kid and they are a the high to take seriously hurt if they get tangled in a runners feet.
13. Finally if you are playing sports inside the track, or what we call in the military, the field house, please always look in both directions before exiting that area. It happens more often than you think that someone gets smoked hard and is off their training for a while because of it. If you make a mistake which happen to everyone, apologies and leave it as that. No harm no fowl.
Enjoy your next run and pass to word.