Running with Traffic1 of 10
One of the biggest mistakes runners make is assuming drivers see them. If you run with your back to oncoming traffic, you're taking a big risk. Always make sure you run against the flow of traffic, so that you can see cars or cyclists as they head toward you and react accordingly. The only time you shouldn't run against traffic is when you're heading in to a blind curve: It makes sense to get on the other side of the road until it's safe to cross back over.
Running in the Wrong Lane on the Track2 of 10
Surprisingly, a lot of runners aren't aware of the rules of the track. If you're a slower runner logging an easy run or taking a recovery break from an interval workout, you should move to one of the outer lanes to prevent a collision with faster runners. Conversely, if you toe the line to do a workout (repeat miles, for example) try to run in the inner lane as much as possible. Running in lane 4 versus lane 1 will add approximately 100 meters to your mile; and if you run in lane 8, that will add over 200 meters. That adds up if you're trying to hit a specific time.
Starting in the Wrong Race Corral3 of 10
We all have bad races where we finish much slower than we hoped, but if you knowingly put yourself at the front of the pack when you should be toward the back, that's a big no-no. It's not only inconsiderate, but it's dangerous. If you slow down suddenly or take a walk break, the faster runners behind you might collide with you and cause a spill.
Running a Race as a Bandit4 of 10
Races are selling out faster than ever and registration fees aren't cheap, so the temptation to "bandit" a race (run without an official bib number) is strong. But race directors carefully calculate how many finish line medals and jugs of Gatorade they need in order to pull off the race. And by running incognito, you could cause them to run out before the last finisher—one who actually registered—crosses the line. Banditing is also a safety issue: If you were ever to have an accident or need medical attention, the first-aid crew wouldn't be able to find your emergency contact information in the system.
Wearing All Black During a Pre-Dawn or Night Run5 of 10
As you groggily shut off your alarm clock and lace up your sneakers, you may not be giving much thought to your attire, but wearing reflective gear in the dark is essential to your safety. A driver may not be able to spot an early morning or night runner if he or she is dressed like a ninja, so don't forget your reflective T-shirt, safety vest or headlamp the next time you hit the road.
Not Paying Attention to Your Surroundings6 of 10
That playlist full of pump-up jams might get you through your long run, but if you zone out to Taylor Swift, you might never notice the stray dog, uneven sidewalk or speeding car headed toward you. Play it safe and keep the music on low, or only use one earbud so you can stay aware of what's going on around you.
Running Too Fast, Too Far, Too Often7 of 10
Once you start running, it's tempting to think that more is better. But more speed, distance or workouts can often mean injury. Running fast every day for a week won't do much good if you're sidelined by aches and pains afterward. Rein in your excitement and try to focus on increasing pace, distance or frequency one at a time.
Not Waving to Fellow Runners8 of 10
Similar to the motorcycle wave that you see on the highways, it's a must to at least give a nod when you come across a runner during a training run. A courtesy wave goes a long way in acknowledging your common interest in the sport (and symbolically commiserating during particularly painful or hot runs). If you're running on a heavily populated path or in a race, you can forego the wave, but otherwise, a brief greeting is the way to go.
Talking About Running Too Much9 of 10
Going for a run is great. Taking about running non-stop is not so great. If your friends' eyes glaze over at the mention of your most recent race or you take a selfie during every single jaunt, you're probably going overboard. You HAVE to do things other than run—right? Talk about those things every once in a while and trust us, your friends will appreciate it.