Basic etiquette for track training

Dec 7, 2020

Track sessions take place at various venues such as sports fields, stadiums or athletic running tracks and there is a certain level of unspoken etiquette which is expected. Here are a few tips to follow.

Basic track etiquette

  • Run around the track in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Do not stand or stretch in any lanes.
  • Should a faster runner want to pass you, listen for “Track!” which means there is a fast runner approaching you from behind and they are ready or in the process of overtaking you.
  • “Passing right” means hold your line as a faster athlete is in the process of over taking you on your right hand side.
  • Do not run more than 2-3 abreast. This will block the lane.

Single lane track

In a group session, on a single lane track keep left and pass right. Just like a highway.

Exit the track to the left into the middle of the track. This does not impede faster athlete’s still running in the lane and this will avoid nasty collisions.

Do not run more than 3 abreast.

Multiple lane track

Look for notice boards or signs on the track for which lanes are open for use.

Check to see if the track is being used by sprinters and see which lanes they are using. Stay out of these lanes.

If there are hurdles obstructing the first 2 lanes, do not move the hurdles and hence do not use these lanes. This is a sign that these lanes are not to be used.

If the track has lanes, don’t use the first 2-3 lanes as these are excessively used during track season during the middle distances events and it helps to reduce excessive wear on the inside lanes. The fastest runners use the lanes 4-5 and slower runners can use 6-8. Remember to stay in your lane. Faster runners in the same lane must pass on the right side of you.

First observe the runners on the track and the pace they are running, then choose your lane according to your pace.

Do not run more than 2 abreast. This will block the lane.

A Small Track Bus

If you are running a session with other athletes at the same pace, let each athlete take a turn in the front for the interval. Rotate positions in the bus.

Don’t let the elastic break – Try keep as close as possible to the runner in front of you but leave just enough space as not to step on their heel.

Going off the back – It is difficult to regain the back of the group if you allow a gap of more than 2-3 meters.  Hence always try stay in close contact with the runner in front of you.

Most Important

All seasoned athletes should welcome and encourage any novice athlete that arrives at the track. Help them to become a better athlete by sharing basic track etiquette. We’re all beginners at some point.

Michelle Coach Mee

Michelle Coach Mee is an ASA certified coach with over 30 years of Road Running, Duathlon, Triathlon and Cross Country experience. She has also represented Gauteng and South Africa for various athletic disciplines. Read more about Michelle here.

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