With marathon training in full swing I have been spending a decent amount of time on my local track doing speed work. Unfortunately, I find myself getting annoyed and frustrated by other people on the track that are not following the “rules”, which leads to walkers and slow runners getting directly in the way of my workout.
I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, because there are no signs directing people on how to appropriately workout on the track and when I explained the “rules” to my husband he had no idea what I was talking about, even going so far to say that I just made them up! I will tell you I did not make them up and if you are a runner who utilizes the track you probably already know the rules. Keep in mind that these rules are meant to allow multiple different types of workouts to coexist peacefully on one track.
Rules of the Track
Run in a counterclockwise direction. Unless otherwise stated on the track that you utilize you should run/walk in a counterclockwise direction. This helps prevent confusion and accidents. If for some reason you do need to run/walk in the other direction, I occasionally do this during cool-down, stay all the way to the outside of the track and be mindful of the others that are working out.
Run in the proper lane. The inner lanes of the track should be reserved for the fast runners or runners doing speed work. The outer lanes are for runners doing easy workouts or walking. This is the biggest problem I have found while utilizing the track for speed work. It seems that most people do not know this and tend to walk or run slowly in the inner lanes, which can actually be dangerous when they get in the way of the faster runners. For the most part I feel that even if someone does not know the rules, they just need to use common sense and be courteous of others. If someone is doing a fast workout on the inside lanes, stay to the right. I have had the experience recently where I am doing speed work and someone new will walk on the track and pretty much start walking right in the lane I am utilizing, this is just plain disrespectful, even if they do not know the rules.
Pass on the right. When running in a counterclockwise direction you should pass on the right. This gets confusing because we are all used to passing on the left and if you were running clockwise that would be the correct way to pass, but while running on a counterclockwise track you should be passing on the right. When I am doing my speed work I pass the slow people on the right, unfortunately for them it tends to be rather close because I am trying to stay as close to my lane as possible.
Go headphone free. This is just a safety issue. The track has a limited amount of space to house many runners, possibly doing many different workouts and you need to be alert to your surroundings so that accidents don’t occur, which is impossible to do with music blaring in your ears. I know when I am doing speed work my brain tends to get a little fuzzy and as fatigue sets in I may get a little disorientated, so it is best for everyone if they can hear me coming!
Respect the hours of use. Tracks, especially the ones at schools, will have specific times when they can be used and we all need to respect those hours for everyone’s safety.
These are the basic rules of the track that everyone should be aware of and follow. I actually wish they would post signs of these rules on every track so that there wouldn’t be any excuse for people to break them. I personally think that we wouldn’t need rules if people would just be more aware and courteous of the other people that are working out on the track.
Do you follow the rules of the track? Do you have any others that you would add to this list?