Share The Path: Running And Walking Etiquette

In these unprecedented times, the outdoor lovers amongst us are doing everything we can to make the most of our once-a-day exercise, whilst maintaining correct social distancing to help keep ourselves and others safe. But lockdown means that more people are trying to get out for the daily exercise outdoors which, although we see it as a positive that more people are staying active and connecting with the outdoors, it can prove difficult when you’re trying to stay safe out there.


The most common activities people are doing right now are walking – whether that’s with the dog, the family or a solo stroll around the park – and running – in the street, in the park on the trail.  It won’t come to a surprise to outdoor lovers that walkers and runners often share the same space and in normal circumstances, that’s not really a problem. However, when we all have to do our bit to keep our distance and stay safe, things get a little more difficult. 


But don’t worry: we’ve put together a fool-proof guide to staying safe when you’re out on foot and how to make sure you don’t sacrifice or jeopardise your precious time outdoors.

1. Avoid the crowds

This is might seem obvious, but now that you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, why not spend some time planning some new routes in your area that will avoid local hotspots and ergo, other walkers and runners. Also consider the amount of space available to walk or run on your chosen route. Try planning routes which only use wide paths, more open spaces such as fields or parks, or even streets with the option to cross over to the other pavement. Who knows, your alternative routes during lockdown might even become your new favourites.


2. Next to me, next to you

It’s inevitable that you’ll come across other walkers or runners on your travels, and if you’re speedy, you might catch them up or overtake them. The latest advice is that being 2m away from someone adjacently is much safer than behind them, due to the risk of infection hanging in the air. So, if you’re coming up behind someone, gain your 2m distance sideways first, before overtaking them. Then return to the same side of the path once you’re a good distance in front of them.

3. Step aside

This applies to both walkers and runners: if you see someone coming in the opposite direction, do your best to create a 2m distance between you by the time you pass each other. If you can’t cross the road, try waiting in laybys or gateways, in between parked cars or, if it’s safe to do so, walk/run into the road whilst you pass each other and return to the path or pavement once you’re past. (This is safest for the person going in the direction of oncoming traffic, so you can see what’s coming!) If you’re a sole walker/runner, bear in mind that it’s easier for you to adjust your path than a family with a pushchair for example, so be mindful of what’s best for everyone. Keep your head up and look out for potential ‘obstacles’ ahead.

4. Come by

Dog-walkers: please do your best to keep your dog away from other walkers and runners by keeping it on a shorter leash whilst others are around. Consider that not keeping your dog close by may force a walker or runner into the path of others and compromise their social distancing measures. When the coast is clear, let your lead go long or your dog run free, but when others are around, keep your dog as close as possible and under control. 


5. Timing is everything

Whilst not everyone has the luxury of choosing when they do their daily exercise – if you work full time you may only have lunchtimes or before/after work – but if you can, try to avoid peak times. You’ll inevitably enjoy your daily exercise much more if you’re not having to worry about social distancing as much and aren’t constantly hiding in bushes or jumping into ditches to avoid other people! Try running at dawn/dusk or walking mid-morning or afternoon instead. You might even see your local area in a whole new way!

6. Listen up

If you walk or run with headphones, make sure you stay more alert than usual. You may not hear a car behind you as you step into the road to pass some other people, or you might not hear the other runner or walker behind you who is wanting to pass at a safe distance. Whilst we’re not saying you have to leave the tunes at home full stop, just bear in mind that you need to keep a lockout for others even more than usual. If you want a perhaps less obstructive alternative, why not try podcasts?


7. Look up

When you can only get out once a day, why not take a break from your phone and just take some time to appreciate the great outdoors? Plus, if you’re looking up rather than down at your screen, you’re more likely to stay aware of people around you and less likely to invade their space! Taking a break from the screen, especially outdoors, can really help to improve your mental well-being and help you reconnect with nature, so why not give it a go on your daily exercise?

If you’ve taken up walking or running during lockdown, or are simply trying to make the most of your precious time outdoors, we’ve got plenty of kit to help you stay active and connected to the outdoors, even when you can’t get out there as much as you’d like. 

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