I love running Austin’s Town Lake jogging trails, especially on the weekend when it seems like half of the city is out. But I’ve noticed a few troublesome habits of people who may perhaps need a refresher course on trail etiquette.
The trail etiquette rules:
1. Walk no more than two abreast. Don’t stroll around walking hand-in-hand five deep at Town Lake. There is nothing more annoying than having to run off the trail just to get around you and your family reunion. This rule also applies to runners. We shouldn’t take up the entire trail when running. So, if there are more than three of you, think of yourselves as walking into Noah’s Ark: Two-by-two.
2. If you are walking on the trail. STAY. ON. THE. RIGHT. SIDE. OF THE TRAIL. Its just like on a street. Slow traffic on the right, faster traffic on the left. Uh, you maam, don’t worry about walking too close to the edge of the trail – NOTHING’S. GONNA. COME. OUT. AND. BITE. YOU.
3. Last Sunday, I nearly ran up the back of a biker and a runner. The biker, albeit, appeared to be no older than 12, so I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt each time she’d slow down RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
But I’m sorry, if you’d stop trying to text on your friggin smartphone while biking, maybe you’d be a little further along. So, the rule there is: No texting while biking. As far as the runner, look, sometimes when you run in this heat, you need to stop and take a break. I got no problems with that. But do me a favor: Run off to the side BEFORE you stop. On Sunday, this couple was running and as they neared the bridge that crosses Barton Creek, they just stopped. Right in the middle of the friggin trail. Listen people, don’t make me say friggin again.
4. Hey showoff, don’t be using your Saturday or Sunday runs for tempos or intervals. I know and everyone else should know the risks you take when you decided to run in the middle of the mornings on weekends. Everybody uses Town Lake at this time of year. Everybody. No use fighting it. So, schedule your speedwork for another part of the city or another time, or you will be doing a lot of stopping and starting, or worse, you might run into a poor lady pushing her twin baby stroller. The only kind of runs I do Sundays at Town Lake are recovery runs: Slow enough to obviously recover from Saturday’s long run; and slow enough to not have to worry about suddenly having to hurdle a toddler who has broken free of the grasp of his/her parent.
5. At the water stop, fill your cup and move on. You are not the only thirsty runner out here. Still, I see way too many people who get their water and stand RIGHT. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. WATER. BARRELS. Like they are at a bar on Sixth Street. You sir, there is a person right behind you. Get out of the friggin way. (You made me say friggin again!) Let’s all treat the water stops (under the Mopac Bridge and at Auditorium Shores) like we are in line at our favorite buffet: Get what you need and keep walking.
6. Don’t forget rules 1 through 5.