How best to encourage fellow runners

Having read the 'Your say: Insults on the run' blog,

it got me thinking... how would you prefer your fellow runners to acknowledge your efforts and offer encouragement/support?




  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭



  • That'll do it!

    But I was thinking more about those occasions when you're out training, rather than in an event.

    The other day, whilst sitting at traffic lights in my car, a jogger and I made eye contact whilst he crossed the road. After a nod from me and a thumbs up from him, I hope he saw the exchange as sign of encouragement. I'll never know!

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    When running the other way, I'll give a fellow runner a nod or short wave of acknowledgement.

    However, I find catching up and overtaking another runner downright embarassing so I'm inclined to make diversions to avoid doing so.


  • close behind with a sharp stick?

  • i know wht you man ricF, although that doesnt happen too often lol, but when it does i feel a bit of a dick running past them, dunno why.

  • I know what you mean, I had that on Sunday on my LSR I wasn't going significantly quicker than the guy ahead but enough to inch ahead of him, we were like two lorries overtaking on a motorway hill.

    Exchanged a few pleasantries but then had that running whilst only a few yards apart thing going on for a short while. Awkward.

    Personally I acknowledge all runners with a nod, smile, wave or if feeling energetic a heady combo of all three. I try not to overthink their response, if they ignore me it's there thing not mine they could just be tired or daydreaming, shy or just a complete stuck up themselves knob.

    As I do a lot of running out in the sticks I find pretty much everyone acknowledges you even if there wry smile suggests they doubt your sanity but without resorting to stereotypes when living in London I might as well have been invisible. 

  • After reading a thread round these parts somewhere about the unwritten rules of running, I now at least nod to everyone I pass. Sometimes I even say Hello.

    I'm hoping that after a few weeks everyone will take heed and copy my friendly attitude so I can single handedly take responsibility of developing the yeovil running community to be nicer to each other.

    I agree with Ric though, I hate overtaking and would sooner cross the road and pass them on the opposite side than pass them - unless I really had to.


  • RicF wrote (see)

    However, I find catching up and overtaking another runner downright embarassing so I'm inclined to make diversions to avoid doing so.


    I don't know whether you could call it 'encouragement' but last year I happened to turn onto a bridleway, about 30 metres behind a young lady and chap who'd approached from a different footpath.

    When they noticed I was behind them I saw them put on a bit of speed, then stopped in a small clearing about half a mile further on to let me pass.  I'm not that frightening, honest!

  • I don't find I need any encouragement when out training... nor do I go out of my way to avoid overtaking other runners. I don't mind if anyone wants to overtake me.

    I do say hello to other runners either goign the othe way, overtaking them or if they pass me.

  • I say hello. But then I mostly say hello when i'm walking as well. It's odd especially on  a long straight road to walk looking towards someone for whole minutes then walk past them like they don't exist.


    How this is received is mixed at best!

  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    At home, rural, small village, always say hello whether overtaking or being overtaken. Normally get the same response back.
    At work, Central London, everyone just keeps schtum. I do occasionally experiment, and say hello to everyone I pass (thats going the other way, not that I overtake everyone!) Usually get no better than a 5% return. Once I got no response from all 50 or so "hellos".....

  • I usually manage to squeak a hello at everyone I meet out running and usually get an equal response along with the wry smile mentioned above.
    I'm frequently overtaken by other runners but usually get a hello as they zoom past. I don't mind at all, motivates me to try a bit harder for a few seconds after anyway.

    Usually get very encouraging comments in races as I'm firmly a back of the packer so get lapped by the quick ones.  It's one of the main reasons I enjoy the sport.

  • oirish and Dustin - completely agree. Only just moved down to London and just shocked at how people don't acknowledge on another. Out in the country I would barely pass  runners or cyclists so would always say hi, and often on hilly parts we might even chat a bit (once had a group of ramblers coming down a hill as I was pretty much dying getting up it, and they all said 'well done, keep going'. Such a small thing, but made me keep going! Now down here in London, I'll smile at people and they'll think I'm completely crazy. Did have a great experience on a LSR and kept passing a cyclist as we both kept getting lost. Ended up chatting lots.
    If people don't smile, fair enough. Just odd when noone smiles or nods in response to you.

  • A nod, short wave or thumbs-up from me.

    However why do I always feel seconds away from being arrested when the other runner is it her suspicious look? it her pretence at not making eye contact when she knows full well I am there? it thinking her personal alarm is to hand?....I don't know!

  • I run most of my miles along the pavements of central and south london, and i agree with oirisheyes, dustin and runwiththewind that most other runners will avoid making eye contact, let alone speaking.

    This is just de rigeur in London though. Rule number one in the travelling around London handbook is to avoid speaking to any stranger you meet, whether on foot or public transport. If a stranger speaks to you they probably have a motive, and it's probably sexual assault.

    The only time i get a glance from other runners in London is when the conditions are so bad or it's so early that there are very few people out; then there's the occasional nod of acknowledgement for braving the elements or getting out of your pit so early.

  • I usually acknowledge other runners.

    Normally I say "hello" or if I'm doing tempo then I usually can't speak so I tend to nod!!

    I was running in a muddy trail race last year and the conditions were unbelievably bad, I was knackered but throwing everything at it. A better runner went past me and said "come on mate!!" which I though was nice and as it happens a first.

  • @MartenKay

    Do your flies for heaven's sake.

  • I always give a g'morning/af'noon/evening when seeing other runners.  I don't mind overtaking or being overtaken as I don't know what kind of run they are on (recovery/tempo etc) so I don't see it as a reflection of me being faster/slower a runner than them.

  • Again, its just a simple nod or smile for me. To anyone and everyone out there. From the 20 stone guy who is his first day in his running shoes to the seasoned athlete who can out run me any day.

    We are all on our own mission, i think when you see lone joggers like our selves, and for a simple courtesy nod, i feel anything more is intrusive.

  • I do most of my short runs in some woods where there are a few runners and a lot of dog walkers. The dog walkers are mostly very sweet but my utter fave is the woman who always says "gosh you're SO fast!".

    I am really very very slow, but bless her.

    On my first ever 10k race when I was nearly dead there were a bunch of kids (maybe aged 8-12) outside their house, SCREAMING at us as we went past, things like "you are all so cool!" "Even walking is winning!" "Your mum is proud of you!" "You are such a superstar!" "Keep going, you look GREAT!".

    Ever since then every time I have run a race which is suggested to have "great crowd support" I have been disappointed. Nothing has ever matched up to that.
  • I see quite a few people who are clearly doing C25K, and I often want to stop and chat to them and tell them that's how I started and how they'll come to love it. But then I think that might be a bit creepy or patronising so I stick with a smile and nod.
  • I will nod briefly to give a passing hello to other runners. Unless they're wearing headphones, in which case I assume they're in their own world and just ignore them.

    I expect nothing more than the same in return and I'm not bothered if I don't get that. I certainly don't need any support or encouragement. My running time is selfish me time and the less interaction I have with others, the better.

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