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The 7 Unwritten Rules of Running

Jun 12, 2017 | Running, Running Advice | 6 comments

Unwritten Rules of Running

Over the years I’ve picked up on the unwritten rules of running…I’m not sure whether I read about them on running blogs, got told them by running friends or just figured them out on my own… but here are some of my fave things/pet peeves that runners do…

  • You don’t count your finish time in a race when you hit the distance…it’s the CHIP time when you cross the finish line. Yes, the race will probably be long, but your 13.1 time is not the moment your watch hit 13.1, it’s the time you get emailed/texted at the end of the race…
  • If you pause your watch during your race, unfortunately this paused time still counts in your finish time. Like I said, your race time is your CHIP time.

Unwritten Rules of Running

Unwritten Rules of Running

  • Still talking of watches, personally I have to finish a run on a round number – even if that means I run past my house, or finish my run 20 paces from my front door. I’ve let the ‘whole mile’ round number thing go, but I cannot finish the run on 3.18 miles… This weekend in France, I had to run past friends in the market to finish our run on 4 miles, despite looking like a total weirdo!
  • The worse the weather on your run, the more badass you can feel. Whether that’s heat, rain, snow, gale force winds…
  • Don’t lie about your race finish time for a better starting time… and start at the back if you’re planning to walk the whole race. I understand that things might go wrong during your race but I don’t understand how I seem to always put myself in the wrong start area.

Unwritten Rules of Running

Unwritten Rules of Running

  • Nothing new on race day… (I break this rule all the time, often to my detriment). That means no new trainers, shorts, sports bra, gels or pre-race breakfast.
  • Be humble about your race time/pace/PBs… Despite the fact that I’m really proud of some of my PBs, I pretty much always preface any chat of times with an ‘only’ or ‘I’m not that fast’… I’m not sure why I do this, partly to save face perhaps and partly because I acknowledge that there are a lot of speedier runners out there. Anyone else do this without even realising it?
  • It’s OK to talk about your bowel habits, even with runners you’ve only just met. They get it.

Runners- I’d love to hear your own unwritten rules of running! What would you say is the thing that irks you most? What would you tell a friend that was just getting in to running? ?

Unwritten Rules of Running


  1. Coco

    I tend to do the same thing with the “only”s but then realized that that makes people who are slower than me feel worse about their times, which is not the point. I’m trying to just say whether I met my goal, since that changes from race to race anyway!

  2. kristi

    My biggest pet peeve with runners is the lack of respect on the small running paths whether it is the not getting out of the way when you are a slower runner or you are running with two other friends in a horizontal line on a small path and do not go in a single file or move out out of the center to let me pass or you are coming from the opposite direction in the middle of the path and do not move over. I have been pushed into water puddles, because people NEED to stay in the center of the very small path.

    I would tell new runners to start slow and easy. YOu don’t need to run a mile nonstop on your first run out.

  3. john p

    Actually it’s the gun time that’s the official time in a true racing sense. According to official road race rules, gun time is always used to award prizes, age category prices, team placings, running club league points etc, that’s why if you want to place well you need to start near the front of the pack. “chip time” is only a fairly recent feature of mass participation races and although it provides a net time, the real race starts when the gun goes off.

  4. Lizzy

    Interesting what you say about your pb being ‘only’ x time – as a back of the pack runner myself that ‘only’ from faster runners makes my pace seem even slower! But I think runners are good at supporting each other with their own chosen goals – I can understand why a faster runner might be disappointed with a time that I can only dream of, and I know faster runners will be happy for me if I hit a pb, even if I’m still a turtle compared to them! Ultimately we’re competing with ourselves most of all.
    I think my own rules are
    1. Be proud of all of my times as long as I did my best – sure I ran a slow half marathon but the important thing is that I ran a half marathon!
    2. learn from each experience to improve next time

    ps Love the blog!


    One of my biggest pet peeves is when runners try to beat the cars across the light. Even though I’ve been guilty of this from time to time, it’s simply stupid. On the other hand, I hate it when drivers break road rules to be courteous to runners. I get that it’s a kind gesture, but it often results in both the runner and the driver having to wait longer than if the driver had just followed the rules.

  6. Sreeraj | gym trainer

    A lot of runners just run. Some run to get faster and more efficient, while others run through pain so they can claim to be injury-free. However, there is much more to being a runner than just simply running — and even more we all want to be a faster, more efficient, injury-free runner. Thanks for the very helpful post.


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