Whether you’re invited to a monthly run club meeting, out for a long run or to a local race with new friends. To ensure you get off on the right foot try to avoid some common “Runner Faux Pas.” Like it or not your first impression counts. To help you I’ve gathered inputs from my contacts in the social media running world, analyzed data from the far reaches of the internet and took into account my own experiences. I’ve identified the eight things others runners notice about you and how they could make or break your first impression. 1. Your shoes better fit the bill. Show up to a long run or on race day in new kicks, Air Jordans, or Converse All-Stars…and you risk being judged a newb, noob, novice, newcomer, or somebody inexperienced aka “the rookie.”
2. It’s okay if your socks make an impression. Flashy socks are all the rave, but show up in a pair of ankle high white tubes from your days in 6th grade PE class and you risk being the last picked for dodge ball or running alone.
(Don’t be jealous, this was high-tech, “in the day.”)
3. The era in which your GPS watch was made speaks volumes. If you need two squirrels and a chipmunk to power your hubcapped sized GPS. You’re either a holdover from the days of tube TVs, boom boxes, the Sony walkman, or you are just plain cheap (I fit into the latter, my Garmin 201 is from 2005).
4. The length of your shorts. There is a fine line between to long and “I see London, I see France”…to short.
5. Are you a resume dropper? Being the new guy or gal is always awkward, unless your on the cover of Runners World. I know I struggle with things to say or how to enter a conversation. Resist trying to fit in by dropping your running resume trying to buy some street credit… It’s never okay to offer up “I’ve run Boston, Western States, Leadville and Badwater” when someone simply asks your name.
6. No Need to burn out the group in the first mile. No matter if you’re Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis there is no need to show your stuff in the first mile of a welcome to the community run.
7. Drop the fanny pack. It’s okay to run with a ultra vest, camel pack, adventure pack, waist hydration belt or handheld. Show up with a 1980s fanny pack and you might find yourself alone on an out-and-back. and
(The Run4Life team has won the VA 24 Hour Race 2 out of last 3 years and set a course mileage record, but first, we are a group of friends who run together.)
8. Be polite. The goal of running with a group of potential friends is to build relationships not to form competitive rivalries. Those will develop over time if an equal running mate is within the group.
For a long time, I was that “lone wolf runner.” I ran alone for no real reason other than I really did not know a lot of other runners. Once I opened myself up to run with a group I made a ton of friends. This group allowed me to enjoy racing and running long distances even more. These days, I look forward to running with my groups and with new people I’ve just met. Nowadays it’s hard for me to show up for a race where I don’t know someone. And I like that…