9 Ways to Run Smarter

You put on your shoes, you go for a run—it's that simple. Still, there are issues: Where should you run? How do you pass? Should you wave? Knowing what to do—and not do—means you won't annoy your fellow runners, or get hurt.

Try these other tips for the beginning runner.

Face the Traffic

When you're running on the road, run on the left side.

Hit the Sidewalk

Unless laws prohibit it, runners are considered pedestrians and may run on sidewalks as protection from traffic.

Use the Crosswalk

I've heard of several accidents in which runners were struck by vehicles—the majority of which occurred when the runner was not using the crosswalk.

Make a Pass

On running paths, stay to the right and pass on the left . If you're on a trail with no room to overtake another runner, wait 30 seconds then ask to slip by. If you're on a track, pass on the right. In a race, pass on either side of a runner ahead of you.

Go With the Flow

On a trail, follow the travel pattern, typically posted near the trailhead or parking area. If none exists and the trail is shared with cyclists, go with the traffic flow.

Even if you're too busy, help decrease your stress and tension by running.

Keep Your Dog Close

If you run with Rex, keep him close by, on a tight leash, and move to the side so runners can pass without interruption.

Circle the Track

The normal rotation on a track is counterclockwise, but look for regulations; some reverse directions every other day.

In order to prepare for a longer or more challenging race, try running a 5K with training advice from Runner's World.

Defer to Fast Folks

On a recreational path or trail, simply move to the side to let them through. If you're on a track, stick to the outside lanes.

Wave if You Want

Some runners prefer to zone out during a run and not focus on anyone, but others tell me they feel energized when they wave and like the sense of camaraderie a greeting provides.

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