Running on country roads


I've mostly done town/city running but I'm branching out into the country for my hill training.

Just wondering if it's safer to run on the left or right of the narrow country road?




  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    You should run facing the on-coming traffic - ie. on the right-hand side of the road, unless it's on a bend where that would be dangerous.

  • Hiya RS

    General rule of thumb is to run against the traffic, i.e. facing oncoming traffic.

    Cross country is an awesome run, enjoy.

  • Don't run too often on ones that are that narrow, but believe it best to run on the right, that way you can see whats coming better - but be prepared to have to dive into the odd hedge to get out of the way as country lane drivers are just as bad as city drivers.
  • Normally tun on the right so you can see the traffic that will be passing on your side of the road. On blind corners consider crossing for better visability. 
  • I run pretty much exclusively on small country roads, some almost single track roads, I try and run facing the oncoming traffic, but on bends I like to run on the outside of the bend so I can see round the corner.
  • Cheers everyone.

    Yeah I've be going on the right but I wasn't feeling too sure about going round blind bends on that side.

    I saw a goat trying to start a fight with a cow the other day while I was out...which was a bit different from the usual town sights image

  • It's pretty much a zig-zag job, R-S. The best bet is just to make sure you have the best chance of people seeing you.
  • Goats can be feisty little buggers.  I like them tho'. 

    Are you running on road much Scamp?  I just wondered because if you're in the country anyway, you could run on public footpaths rather than dicing with traffic.

  • I tend to zig-zag too, but not because of the traffic, because of the horrendous camber that you seem to get on small country roads.
  • Hi Parklife,

    I'm doing about 30-35 miles a week on the road at the minute. Training for a half in October. I live in Derry, in the city itself. I'm pretty bored with the same routes so I've started going out of town into the surrounding hills. Basically I thought I'd freshen things up and get good hill training at the same time. Been doing a couple of 6-8 mile country runs over the last 2-3 weeks.

    I have to say I really enjoy the peace and quiet even though I kinda spoil the tranquility wheezing and gasping as I plod along.

  • Make sure you wear hi-viz. Don't assume that drivers will see you cos they won't and you'll end up having to dive into a ditch.

    Bet you get addicted to country running when you get the hang of it. Get off road if you can too, and then you'll have to get a dog to run with you and then your life will be complete.image 

    PS: cows and squirrels don't care if you wheeze.

  • Good luck with the half Scamp.  Maybe after it's done you could get off road and not have to deal with traffic.  Hills are so much more 'interesting' with grass, rocks, roots etc underfoot aren't they? image
  • Running in the countryside is awesome, especially now there are plenty of blackberries to snack on!
  • I'm lucky that I dont need to run on roads very much - but when I do - I make sure I'm in Hi Viz and really keep an eye out on traffic.

    I see cars driving way too close together and its often the case that the driver behind can only see you when you're 10 feet away.

    I also think its best to run out in the road a bit more - so you claim a bit more lane space. If you cower in the hedges then you dont stand out as much and its more of an invitation for drivers to not pull out to pass you.

    Lets be safe out there !
  • I hate running in the countryside.  Too many potholes and blind corners and I have to keep my music right down so I can hear any cars coming. 
  • OK...zig zagging in high viz seems to be the concensus then!

    To be honest I'm dying to get off road. I'm going to be doing cross country races this year for the first time. I can't wait!

  • Are there any footpaths or country parks round by you ? That would be a much nicer and safer bet.
  • Got an ordnance survey map the other day so I can explore some footpaths.  I did go in a field the other day and that was better but very slow as the ground's very uneven.
  • Agree with Cougie, when running don't get too close into the verge, try and stick out a bit into the road, makes it easier for oncoming traffic to see you early, you can then move over a bit when it passes you.

    I run a lot on country roads and find that most drivers will slow down for you and leave plenty of space.  Although it's always exciting when you pass horses and cyclists at the same time as cars, no one ever knows quite who should have priority!!

  • And beware of rabbit holes in the verges.  On my second outing on a country road, I was running close to the edge and stepped into a verge when a car came and my foot went into a rabbit hole and the rest of me went straight over onto the road in front of a tractor.  I badly sprained my ankle and was hobbling about for a week.
  • Cross country's best when its been raining loads and there's ankle deep mud. I always fall over and get home absolutely plastered but you can't beat it!
  • Lou-lou, not been out in quite that severe conditions, but I know what you mean. There's a local field that's popular with dog walkers and the looks on their faces when I trot past in running shoes while they're in wellies or walking boots is priceless!

    Still haven't worked out the best method of removing most of the field from said shoes, but hey ho!

  • Saves on buying ankle weights too Helen. image
  • Helen - I find walking across a clean laminate floor removes mud like nothing else. I can do a long run, last touch a splash of mud 8 miles back and then run the rest on clean pavement and my trainers still shed the muck as I walk into the house. Its amazing.
  • Parky - That's a positive! The undercuts in the heel are, I'm sure, there for a reason, but they fill up really easily with mud. Feels like your feet have grown to about three times their normal size with accumulated mud!

    Cougie - Ahh, no on two counts. 1) no laminate flooring, 2) learnt my lesson after treading something unspeakable through the hall image and now take shoes off at the front door.

  • With you on the shoes off a the door Helen, I recently walked something unpleasant in and then had to spend ages washing the kitchen floor and the shoes I'd been wearing!
  • I live in the countryside, so this is my only roads i use, and really don't have a propblem, just use common sense, on blind bends run on the opposite side of the road so that you can see, and more importantly be seen.  They are real cool to run at in the dark, head torch and total peace and quiet, just watch for pot holes, and overgrown verges.  Have fun and enjoy the new experience.
  • I love running along the country roads on sunday my LSR run day. It's a quiet road and hardly any cars at that time of the morning but will cross to the left on right hand bends just in case. I'm really lucky with the area or roads that I run on because of the wildlife thats visible at that hour such as deer, badgers, rabbits and even a large bird of prey which sits on the telegraph pole just watching. I have to pass a few farms as well, which during the summer months can be a little over powering (if you get my drift...) and during the wet weather these roads can flood for a couple of hundred yards which means running with very wet feet for the remainder of the run but I would not give it a miss on a sunday for anything.
  • I run on the left, just as instructed when in a race, which flies in the face of the highway code. The athletics association must have a  reason for this.

    However on narrow country lanes i can understand why. If you run on the right and  cars come toward you from both directions the car facing you pulls in and you have to stop running till the car behind you passes.

    Run on the left, the car behind you stops to allow the car coming toward to continue.   

    Simples !

  • I see your point but I'd rather make the decision to dive into a kerb/bush than being hit into one from behind because some idiot thought that he could overtake and pass you in time.

    During races they make you run on the left side of the road because they have warned traffic that there are runners on the road and pass carefully signs would/should have been placed along the route as well as marshals looking after you and keeping an eye out.

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