On a popular running path, I sometimes end up holding the same pace as a complete stranger. Should I say something? Any rules on this?
– KATRINA S.
Rules? It depends. If the path is fairly crowded, there’s no need to address someone running nearby, beyond maybe a polite “hello.” It’s elevator etiquette: You’re all stuck there, sharing this space en route to somewhere else, so what are you gonna do? If the path is wide open, however, no amount of talking will lessen the awkwardness of matching strides with a stranger. It’s just creepy. Instead, either surge ahead or fall back, then resume your normal pace – at a polite distance. Oh, and personally, I don’t mind when strangers talk to me on a run. As long as it’s something like, “Hi,” instead of, say, “You alone?” followed by, “That one of them expensive GPS watches?”
I often arrive at races at the last minute and squeeze into the starting corral. Is it cool to stretch there?
– KONSTANTIN T.
Arriving at the last moment may not be ideal, but it isn’t terrible. Still, if I were you, I’d skip the starting-line stretching routine for two reasons: (1) The value of stretching before you run is questionable at best and (2) Yeah, it is inconsiderate. Starting corrals – especially at popular races – can approach Tokyo-subway levels of density. And even in less-crowded conditions, having to duck around some dude’s elbows or splayed-out legs can grate. Instead, try showing up five minutes earlier and squeeze in a warm-up jog before squeezing into the corral.
Is the blank stare I get back from cyclists as I wave while I’m running their way of saying hello?
Yes! And when motorists throw things, it means “I love you.”