Track Etiquette


This morning’s workout was on the track: 400m, 600m, 800m, 1200m, 800m, 600m, 400m with a jog across the diagonal of the infield as our active rest between intervals.

The goal of our workout was to run hard and consistent for each increasing distance. We ran a hard 400m, then tried to keep that same pace for the 6,8,12oom’s. I love step-up workouts like these, because they introduce variety and push me to work harder as the distance increases.

Nothing quite makes you feel as tough as a solid track workout :)

The track was hoppin’ this morning, with runners of all different speeds, which made for a bit of passing/being passed. And it got me thinking about track etiquette.

Just like any other sport, there are unspoken protocols when using a shared space, like a track or pool. I’m by no means an expert on track etiquette, but after running T&F for 4 years in HS and 4 years in college, I’ve come to notice a handful of track etiquettes…

For instance:

  • If you’re jogging/warming up/in between repeats, it’s best to run on an outter lane or the infield (opposed to lane 1)
  • If you’re crushin’ it and about to overtake someone, pass on the outside (don’t cut their lane in half by trying to squeeze between the infield curve and lane 1)
  • As soon as you finish an interval, hop into the infield as quick as possible (as to not obstruct lane 1 if someone else comes running up behind you)
  • If you want to run in the opposite direction of traffic on the track, stick to the most outside lane
  • Keep water bottles/extra clothing a few feet off the track (in case the wind blows and knocks your bottle over, causing it to roll into lane 1)

I love speed work on the track because it comes along with this cool, unified “we’re all working hard” vibe. No matter how fast or slow you’re kickin’ it, everyone on the track is working hard, and I love that. It’s inspiring.

What other unspoken etiquettes have you noticed when running (either on a track, or trails, or sidewalks?)
Do you have a favorite type of track workout? (share ’em with me! I love hearing about different speed workouts)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Efo,

    I had never been a runner, much less a sprinter, until about 1.5 years ago – but for some reason, I decided to pick a “mid-life crisis” goal of a sub-60 second 400 meter. I am 45 years old and have taken my time down from 1:45 the first time I tried last year to 69 seconds, so still a ways to go.

    My least favorite (while I am doing it) track workout is 6×200’s with 3 minutes rest – I can usually do all 6 at about 37-38. But actually I think it is my favorite workout, as it seems to have the biggest impact on my improvement.

    Take care,


  2. Jessica T says:

    Great tips!! I’ll have to remember these when I go down to the high school to jog :)

  3. Mrs Hird says:

    Check over your shoulder before spitting/snotting is my personal rule. Other track rules include that it is polite to yell “track!” once for each person, after that, if they continue to get in the way, start practicing your zombie shoving skills. Bro.

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