the courtesy wave

i admit i can be picky and sometimes a little set in my ways…(i am working on improving that btw :)!)

lately though, i’ve been thinking that the world in general would be a happier place if people were just a little more friendly and considerate…

case in point….

the courtesy wave

when it comes to driving, we’re all familiar with the ‘courtesy wave’ etiquette. or at least we should be, right?  it’s an unspoken rule of driving really. a fellow driver stops/slows down and indicates through a head nod or slight wave that they are letting you merge into their lane (or, more commonly seen on my daily commute…you’ve waited until the last moment to merge and cram your car so far into the other driver’s lane- they have no other choice but to let you in). at a minimum, this calls for a courtesy wave.  i know i shouldn’t get offended or take it personally when i don’t receive that wave…but i do have a tendency to become a bit Seinfeld-esque…”how could you not give a thank you wave? hey buddy! where’s my thank you wave? give me that wave!”

the same goes for running really…there is an unspoken etiquette surrounding the runner’s courtesy wave or greeting.

since you are my friends, and i only have totally awesome friends, i’m sure you are well aware of this ritual and practice it all the time, but i just thought i would stress the importance of saying hello to your fellow runners out there.

think about it on your next long run. you’re up super early. on a saturday (or sunday depending on your training schedule). you didn’t go out the night before because you knew you had to get up early (or maybe, like i sometimes do, you did go out and now you’re paying for it). either way, getting yourself up and out the door is half the battle. as it also is for every other runner you see along your route- we all deserve to be recognized for that.

wave. say hello. good morning. grunt. nod. smile.  that little acknowledgment, that brief moment of mutual running respect, can go further than you may realize.

in fact, whatever greeting or acknowledgement you choose…spread the love to whoever crosses your path. the group of 20 trekking down the street from the local running store…i share a nod and a smile. that homeless woman asking me for a lighter last week as i ran past her? yup- i said hello and politely informed her that i do not smoke. the little old man i pass at the same spot as he walks to the bus stop each morning? not only do i wave, but i now look for him and notice when he’s not there. calling out the name of a sleepy friend i haven’t seen in a while as i finish my run in Canton or a cheery hello to the less than young lady doing the ‘walk of shame’ in Fells Point (that one was kind of funny actually…)

all of them truly help to make my runs more enjoyable.

i sometimes get some confused looks of course and i recognize not everyone will agree with me. if you have aggressive training goals, you may be more focused on meeting those than on saying hello to every joe schmo along the way. but if you can do it… i say why not? it takes your mind off how tired your legs are. it distracts you from calculating how many miles you have left. it helps you focus on enjoying the run. don’t become all curmudgeonly or Seinfeld-esque if you don’t receive a response either… never regret any small act of kindness. i promise you….a little love and sunshine goes a long way…it will come back to you in the end 🙂


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