Monday, May 26, 2008

Greeting Others While Running

What do you do when you see another runner coming toward you and you are about to pass each other? Nod your head? Wave? Say "Hi?" Keep going without saying anything? Does it make a difference if you know the other person?

I usually give a very light nod and keep going on my way. When I'm running a bit harder, especially on roads or a bike path, a may skip any recognizable greeting at all. I'm sure "regular old people" (non-runners) interpret this as rude. Many non-runners already think we are elitist and arrogant...I'm sure that's a bit of projection and defensiveness coming from their relatively inactive lifestyles. Our "uber-fitness" (at least compared to them) can be threatening. So why reinforce their negative view of runners? Praise them for being outside. Tell them to have a great day. Smile. Wave. Nod. We need the good press.

On the trails I seem to say "Hi" more often. Probably because I see less people walking & running on the trails. And I'm usually going fairly easy, just enjoying the trail scenery. And others on the trail are usually a bit me. Yeah, they tend to be more like me. They enjoy being in the out-of-doors enough that they actually get off a paved path! You need to appreciate definitely great those fellow trail runners and hikers.

And if you see a friend running, pause and say hello. Really...pause...stop...and say hello. Catch up with them. Socialize. I suppose if you are in the middle of your best speed session of the season you can wave and sprint on down the trail. They'll understand. But the other 95% of the time, stop that watch/HRM/GPS and re-connect with your friend! It'll do you both good. The watch and trail will still be there 2 minutes later.

We should all try a little harder to make human contact with fellow runners...and try even harder with non-runners (walkers, hikers, bicyclists, etc). It'll likely make you feel better, you might brighten someone's day, and it'll hopefully make others think us runners aren't too bad after all.

PS: Hey Dave, hope your mile time trial worked out OK. Thanks for yelling "I'd stop but I'm finishing up a timed mile!" I'm pretty sure I shouted back "Good job. Keep it up!" We'll chat next time.

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