A Note on Track Etiquette

Dear Wednesday Night Runners:

The success of our Wednesday night program continues to inspire me. You folks make it all worthwhile. With that success has come continued high attendance and, inevitably, congestion on the track.

As you know, my main strategy for combatting this is the "Lane One Rule." To review: When you are doing a repeat, no matter what your pace, stay firmly in Lane One, and hug the rail tight. Do not run two abreast or in other configurations that cause runners to occupy Lane Two. Do not move out into Lane Two to let faster runners pass. In case this is not clear, this rule is not, and cannot be, an option. The group is simply too big for people to individually decide in which lane they prefer to run. But read on for some qualifications.

Lane Two is for passing, pure and simple. Sometimes, you will even need to use Lane Three to pass, as in cases where a "pack" is in the early stages of a repeat and has not yet settled into Lane One.

Lanes Four and Five, or the inside of the track, are the places to jog your recovery. If you find this unduly lengthens your recovery -- something which I know is a burning concern! -- you can compensate by jogging across the infield, or cutting off a turn.

These are the basic rules. Now, here's how to live with them.

First: We are all Clubmates and teammates. The slowest to the fastest. Each has to look out for the interests of each. I realize full well that running is an individual sport, but our workouts are a group effort.

Second: That being the case, we need to act like it. If a pack has strayed out into Lane Two, and you are seeking to pass, it's fine to shout a warning and ask people to move. But your main task is to make sure there is no collision, and if that means going out into Lane Three, or momentarily slowing down, then that's what you need to do. If there is a big problem with clogging up Lane Two, please see me rather than accuse each other.

Third: Safety is our first rule. Use the "last clear chance" principle in avoiding an accident. If you could have avoided an accident by slowing down or moving out, and you fail to do so, the accident is probably your fault. Fourth: Be courteous. Despite our best efforts, accidents do and will happen. If you are aware of one, particularly if you think that you may have instigated it, stop and see how your teammate is doing. Offer assistance.

Fifth: Remember that our culture on Wednesday is one that both pursues achievement and encourages maximum participation. If there were more time and facilities available, ideally, we might break up the workouts. But we deal with the reality of limited resources, and in that context, these two aspects of our culture can come into conflict. Please do whatever you can do to minimize those conflicts. Extend your greetings, encouragement, and even jogging time to as many in the group as you can. If you personally feel that you are having a hard time "fitting in," please see me -- it's my job to be concerned with and address such issues.

Finally, I end where I began, with a deep appreciation for the dedication and sense of fun and purpose that each of you bring to the track. Let's continue to build a genuine culture of teamwork and mutual support as we move into the racing season.

Coach Ed
February 4, 2003

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Directions to Track

Track workouts are held on the track at Washington-Lee High School.

From Washington DC: take I-66 east to the Glebe Road exit, turn right on Glebe, right on 15th Street for about 0.4 miles, to Stafford Street, turn right and cross over I-66 and the school is on your left.
From Vienna and points west in Virginia: take I-66 east to the Fairfax Drive exit, follow Fairfax Drive for about 0.8 mile to Stafford Street, turn left for about 0.3 miles and the school is on your right.
From Alexandria: take Glebe Road going north until turning right on 15th Street, and proceed as from DC.
Metro: Washington-Lee is a short walk from both the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations on the Orange Line.

Upcoming Events

2014 Island Creek ES PTA's 5K and 1 Mile fun run
Sat, Apr 26th, 2014, @7:30am
Vienna Elementary 5K
Sat, Apr 26th, 2014, @8:00am
Friends of Montessori Education 5K
Sat, May 3rd, 2014, @7:30am
Community Residences 5K & Fun Run
Sat, May 3rd, 2014, @9:00am
Mark's Run
Sun, May 4th, 2014, @7:30am

The DC Road Runners Club is a chapter of the Road Runners Club of America and are also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.