Understanding Runners for Dummies-Chapter 2 ” Don’t Honk at the Runners! Plus, other tips to keeping your runner happy”

Here’s the best-selling guide to taking care of your runner.

Do you have a runner in your life? This fun, friendly guide to runners prepares you for this tough but terrific time. From the basics – housebreaking, feeding, training – to the latest on runner care, supporting your runner, and the new designer breeds of runners. You get everything you need to understanding their odd behaviors.

This is the second chapter of the best selling book. If you missed it, check out Chapter 1, Types of Runners

*Please note, these articles are meant to find humor in the silly behaviors of runners.  

Chapter 2-Don’t honk at the runners! Plus, other tips to keeping your runner happy

Runners are a strange breed of human.  You can find them in packs or solo participating in some odd behaviors, which you don’t understand.   Do you have a runner in your life?  Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for runners.


  • Don’t honk at the runners. I think most people honk to be nice, or encouraging.  Unfortunately, it’s usually startling to a runner.  The runner doesn’t know its coming and they aren’t sure if they are in dangers way. So please, don’t honk at the runners.
  • Don’t call a 5k a marathon. This is not a put down on 5ks, at all.  Racing a 5k is miserable, the entire way.  I am not down playing 5ks.  I get asked about all of my marathons, a lot.  “Did you run another marathon this weekend?” No, I raced a super difficult 5k, but I did not run a marathon.  They are different races. So if you aren’t sure about the distances, just ask about the race.
  • Don’t tell them running is bad for their knees. Seriously, have you studied up on this? Probably not.  Some studies have shown that running will actually decrease our risk for arthritis and other knee problems.
  • Don’t Cat-call Cat-Calling is not okay, period! Cat-calling at a woman who is running by herself can quickly turn an enjoyable run, into fearing for her own safety.  At the very least, it makes women uncomfortable.
  • Don’t shout, “You’re almost done!” This is another well-meaning thing that our nonrunner friends and family do. Sure, mathematically 1 mile out of 26.2 doesn’t seem so bad.  To a tired, fatigued runner, it can sound like another marathon.  Instead, tell them how strong they look, or how proud of them you are.
  • Don’t tell them they run too much. Really, who are you to decide?  If they aren’t making you join them for all of the miles, then you don’t get an opinion on how much, is too much.
  • Don’t discuss weight. I don’t know why, but people seem to think talking about running is an open door to talking about weight. In my case, I get told how I don’t weigh enough.  Constantly, told running makes me look unhealthy.  On the flip side, I have heard people make comments to runners who carry more weight, too.  They will say unthinkable things such as, “You don’t look like a runner,” or “all that running you’d think you’d be skinny.”  That is not okay!
  • Don’t say, “I only run when someone is chasing me.” Or any other not-that-catchy over used answer. Most of the time, this response isn’t even following an invitation to run.  People find out you’re are a runner and want to tell you about the invention of cars or other lame reasons they don’t run.
  • Don’t refer to runners as “real runners”- Before I completed my first marathon, people would tell me about their “real” runner friends. It doesn’t matter how fast or far someone is going. If they get out the door and run, they can call themselves a runner.  Don’t put down or belittle their efforts. “Real runners” don’t do this to each other, it’s usually nonrunners.
  • Don’t ask if they are fast-This is just really awkward question to try an answer. “Fast” is a very subjective term.  If the runner is fast, they either have to down play their speed and act all modest or risk sound like an arrogant snob if they say yes.  If they aren’t all that fast, and they say “no.”  They still run!  They still have goals that are important to them.  You can ask about their times, and ask about upcoming goals and races but avoids the arbitrary “are you fast.”
  • Don’t ask them to skip a run-Runners who are in training have to make sacrifices and some days it’s down-right tough to get motivated. Try not to be the negative influence that deters someone from reaching their goals. Its worse when it’s a close friend or family member nagging you’re about skipping a run.
  • Don’t give excuses, about why you can’t run. This is usually a response, again, that wasn’t following an invitation to run.  “I would love to run, but I don’t have enough time.”  Sure you do, you just don’t make it a priority. Looking at my running crew, I am surrounded by doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers and other busy jobs. Most of them have kids and other things going on in their life. It’s a balance and they make running a priority because they enjoy it.  You have time, you choose not to prioritize it.  That’s okay, but don’t make excuses.  People also love to give a medical report to runners as an excuse.   Most of the time, running would help the person, or at least another type of physical activity to promote a healthier lifestyle.  If you don’t want to run or like to run, fine.  Stop with the excuses though, especially when you weren’t asked.


  • Do make signs/Cheer them on at races-Racing is tough, you are putting a lot of strain on your body. A cheer station or sign can have an amazing uplifting impact on a runner.  It means more than you know.  Even knowing I have a friend or family up ahead, on the course, can lift my spirits as I get closer.  For the minute or so I have them in sight, it distracts me from the pain I am pushing through.
  • Do feed them, and often. Running burns a lot of calories, so if you have runner friends. Join them for food, and coffee.  Snacks will always earn you brownie points.  When a runner hasn’t fed in a while, they begin to enter a strange state known as “hangry.”  This is an uncontrollable angry state that the runner enters and the only cure is food.
  • Do ask them about their running (if you genuinely are interested.) Runners work hard, and they love to talk about their running journeys. So if you are interested, ask.  But beware, this can become quite a lengthy conversation.  Ha ha
  • Do acknowledge their dedication and be supportive of their sacrifices. Running takes time, dedication and sacrifices.  There will be good days and bad.  May runners go to bed early on Fridays so they can get up at zero-dark-thirty to get their long run in on Saturday. It’s physically demanding and mentally exhausting.  Keeping positive along the journey can mean so much to a runner.
  • Do offer them massages. Okay, okay we will leave this one for significant others, unless you want to purchase massages as gifts.  Running is hard and there are aches and pains.  A back, leg or foot rub is a wonderful way to show your running spouse you love them.

Be sure to subscribe, so you can continue to learn more about your runner. Be sure to follow! Tomorrow we will introduce Chapter 3!

Incase you missed it, here is Chapter 1, ” Types of Runnners”

Interested in working with a Running Coach?

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Published by RunCanvas

Avid Runner, mother, wife and teacher. On a wonderful journey, taking it one mile at a time.

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