Running Track Etiquette



A lot of coaches and players do not have any experience with running track etiquette so it needs to be taught.  Using a track is very beneficial to soccer coaches for speed and endurance training.  Most coaches do not have dedicated tracks available for their use.  Accordingly, these coaches need to use public tracks.  This running track etiquette instruction is especially useful because of the high potential for coming in contact with casual users.

Running Track Etiquette

Soccer Field Inside Running Track

  • Note that many people have no clue about running track etiquette.  The worst offenders are generally the casual public who walk on the inside lanes, but then there are those with any type of wheeled vehicles, like bicycles, strollers, scooters and skate boards. (None of these should ever be on a track.)
  • Never confront people who behave poorly on the track. If it’s really worrisome, you need to go to the coach or to a school or parks official. (Walk away if you have to or even leave the area.)
  • Be careful and courteous when crossing the track from an entrance or to-and-from the infield. (People on the track always have the “right-of-way.” Look both ways before crossing. Wait for people to pass, leaving a good break. Do not try to sprint across between people.)
  • If the track is associated with a school, school teams like “track and field” and “cross country” have priority.
  • Be respectful of others and do not create dangers.
  • No clothing, bags, keys, water bottles, clothing, shoes, or similar articles are to be placed on the track itself.
  • No soccer balls. (No balls of any kind.)
  • Wear running shoes only.
  • No congregating in standing groups.
  • Go counter-clockwise only.
  • No bunching.
  • No running backward.
  • Pay attention; no horseplay.
  • Runners to the inside.  (Lanes 1 and 2.)
  • Joggers and fast walkers to the middle. (Lanes 3 and 4.)
  • Youth runners and slow runners to the middle. (Lanes 4 and 5.)
  • Walkers, warm downs, and rehab to the outside.  (Lanes 5 and 6.)
  • Overtakers must always be the ones to move, allowing sufficient room to avoid collisions if someone should do something unexpected, just like in skiing.
  • Pass on the right.
  • Notify before passing. (“On your right.”)
  • Be courteous when you are passed.
  • You have to see where you’re going.
  • Never assume that the track is clear. (Overhanging tree limbs can drop sticks or fruit.)
  • Look out for obstacles large and small, from coins to bottle caps, and twigs to branches.  (Be conscious of anything slippery like rain puddles or animal droppings.)
  • No cones, disks, or other distance markers should be placed on the track itself. Any markers such as these must be placed either just inside or just outside of the track.
  • Clear obstacles for the benefit of everyone, when completely free to do so.  Do this before and after using the track.
  • Don’t just stop or stand arbitrarily on the track.  If there is a problem, when it is clear, move immediately to the outside or onto the infield.
  • Do not play music that interferes with others.
  • You must be able to hear! If you feel that you just have to wear earbuds while on the track, keep the music really low and only wear one.
  • Look for any posted signs for additional rules.  This may include operating hours, such as “closed from dusk to dawn.”  Obey the signs.
  • Look for any additional signs or rules that may pertain to how the infield of the track may be used.
  • Any parents, spectators, or friends must also be mindful of proper behavior.  They should never be on the track.  No chairs, tables, or other portable furniture should be set up on the track.
  • No dogs should ever be on or around the track, either leashed or loose, both for hygiene and for safety.
  • Don’t leave anything.  Be sure to take everything you brought.
  • No littering.
  • No smoking.  No alcoholic beverages.
  • No infants, toddlers, young children who are unaware, or non-participants should be on the track.
  • No strollers, carts, wagons, or push/pull carriers of any kind should be on the track.
  • No vehicles of any kind, motorized or otherwise, should be on the track.  (No bicycles, tricycles, pedal cars, scooters, or skateboards.)
  • No trash cans, recycle containers or field equipment is to be placed on the track.
  • No marks should be applied to the track.  If distance indicators are needed, they should only be made with removable tape.  Be sure to remove the tape at the end of the session.
  • Never apply any kind of paint or spray to the track.

Many thanks to the readers of who contributed to this article, particularly the runners.

© Copyright, John C. Harves