Runner’s Week: What are the rules of the road for runners?

It’s Runner’s Week here at and all week we’ll give tips to improve your running workouts. Today we continue with answers to six common questions about running on the road:
1. Should I run facing traffic, or run with it?
It’s better to see the traffic coming at you, rather than having vehicles approach from behind. Most experienced runners will always face the traffic – it’s just a lot safer.
2. Is it better to run on the sidewalks than the road?
Yes, it’s even safer to run on sidewalks. Do that when possible. The biggest thing to watch out for on sidewalks is cars coming out of driveways onto the roadway.
Whether on the road or sidewalk, always be on the lookout for obstacles that could hinder your path. In addition to the big obvious one (cars), be especially careful of dogs, potholes and uneven roads or sidewalks.
3. Do runners have to use the crosswalks?
Yes, you’re under the same laws as a pedestrian and could be cited for jaywalking. More importantly, no matter how good a runner you are, it‘s safer to use a crosswalk. Use a crosswalk when crossing the street to avoid being hit by a car. More accidents happen with runners crossing a street when they’re not on a crosswalk.
4. How long should I warm up before going on a run?
Warm up for 5-10 minutes before starting your running program with a walk or very light jog and stretching. Give the same amount of time for a cool down.
5. What are the best ways to keep track of my running?
Write down a record of your running workout and track mileage by either wearing a pedometer or driving the course and checking your speedometer. This will help you as a motivational tool and to set goals.
6. How often should I get new running shoes?
Just like it’s important for a car to have good tires, so too should a runner have proper shoes. Make sure you have good running footwear and expect to need a new pair of shoes about every 400-500 miles.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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