Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Survey #1 - A Hi, A Nod, or A Wave?

Wow, thanks for the feedback on the results of my summer running survey! It was indeed fun to hear such varying viewpoints on how/when we run in extreme hotness! I apologize to those of you who missed out. I had no idea so many of you wanted in on that. Not to worry though because I have a new survey question to ask all of you. Before I do, let me announce that since so many of us expressed interest in participating in these, I'm going to make it a regular feature every Friday on my blog! Every week, I'll have a new survey question for you all to think about, mull over (perhaps on a long run) and comment on throughout the weekend. Then, by the middle of next week, I'll tabulate the results, generate a scientific analysis and post my conclusions based on my findings. I think that would be cool, interesting, informative, and fun...for you and for me!

So here's my survey question for the week. It is actually based on something I experienced today while out on a morning run. Allow me to paint the picture for you.

It's Friday morning, 5AM. I enter the park just as the first rays of dawn hits the earth. There's a cool breeze in the air which is refreshing, a stark contrast to the dry and still heat we have had for the past week. I'm running at my recovery speed, enjoying the scenery and the fresh air. I feel generally happy because it's Friday and I've got cool plans coming up this weekend. In the near distance, I see a guy my size and height running towards me all serious and business-like. I give a slight wave with my right hand. He blows by me without acknowledgment. Okay, maybe he couldn't see me through this reflective sunglasses. I move on. A half mile later, I see an older woman running and approaching from that same side. I waited until she was within earshot of me. "Hi. Good morning!" I said succinctly. It startles her. She falls over a step onto the grass before apologetically mumbling "Oh Hi!" and running away. Oh, that was maybe too strong. The third runners comes through about a quarter of a mile later. It's a teenager this time. A lanky high school runner. Probably on the track team. I decide a nod was probably appropriate here, so I flick my head when he's within my visual field. He runs by, staring straight ahead, oblivious to my existence. By now I'm agitated, irritated, and hating life because I just can't seem to get this right. Never mind the next several runners I passed did say Hi back or wave or in general acknowledged my existence in some way. But by then the damage had already been done. I basically had an anxiety complex trying to decide how best to greet the next approaching runner everytime I saw one. I was traumatized for the rest of my run and through the entire day.

So, I ask you, my fellow runner friends, for my survey question of the week - What is the most socially acceptable way to acknowledge a fellow runner approaching from the opposite side? What is the social etiquette? Is it a quick wave, a nod or a verbal greeting of some sort? Do you do a combo of things hoping to ensure that you'll catch their attention? Do you vary your tactics based on age, race, sex, location, religion, political affiliation, or how you happen to be feeling that day? I really would like to now. [For the purposes of the survey, please declare a preference and then state your reasoning. Thanks.] I'm surely going to think about this on my seventeen mile long run tomorrow.

I thank you in advance for leaving a comment and participating in this survey. Have a fun, safe, and hopefully cool weekend!

27 comments:

EZEthan said...

I like the post idea... this could catch on!

I usually default to a brief, two finger, sideways point which for the purpose of this survey would most closely resemble a wave...

Ultimately though my gesture depends more on what my work out is and how I'm feeling...

If it's an easy run and I'm feeling good I might even say good morning... if I'm doing a hard enough workout and I'm really focusing I might just blow past and ignore the other person...

marathonmaiden said...

great post idea!

i do a nod and raise my hand to acknowledge them. not a full wave but more of what you do when you're thanking someone when you're driving or something. i do say "hi" to the people that i regularly see because i feel like i know them better.

in general though, i reciprocate whatever i'm given. so if the other people is the first one to acknowledge me then i just mimic them. unless i'm running really hard (like on the track) because then i'm pretty much in the zone and an a-bomb wouldn't get my attention

Michelle said...

Hi! I am a running pediatrician as well! Anyway, I usually give a nod or wave. I run with music so never do the verbal, but will if it looks like someone has spoken with me first. I always do something though. How can you ignore someone coming right towards you? The return rate is only about 50%

Samantha said...

Smile and nod!

runawaylife said...

I think it really depends on where I am! If I'm running on the west side path, or CP, there are so many runners I can't possibly acknowledge them all. If I was running very early or late, I'd probably be too paranoid to greet a man.

OTOH, when I run in Toronto, the midwest, or pretty much anywhere in California, I greet everybody. Runners and cyclists get the two-finger lift without arm raise; kids and dogs get the full goofy wave and grin.

Her Name is Rio said...

I wave to runners and walkers. I nod to cyclists.

Tricia said...

Hi! Love your blog - the survey idea is fun.
I think it depends on if they have music or not. I usually give a little hand flick wave; I also press pause if I have music just in case they say something. It bothers me too when people don't acknowledge you, especially when you're practically bumping elbows on the trail!

Poundingthe(LA)Pavement said...

Hey Lam. Im going to have to agree with 'runawaylife'. I live in Southern California and always greet other runners and cyclists with the 2 finger wave and a slight head nod. Runners here respond with the same gesture about 95% of the time.

Whenever Im in NYC I usually run with the Nike running group (I got lost in Central Park once and decided this So Cal girl needs to run with a group when in 'The City' :)) and I've noticed no one acknowledges each other.

The Laminator said...

Thanks for all the great responses so far.

@EZEthan - Two finger sideways point, huh? I've yet to master that.

@marathonmaiden - You're a mimic! Okay, got it. True, if I'm running intervals than it'd be hard for me to acknowledge anyone too!

@Michelle - Welcome to my blog, kindred spirit. I agree that the return rate is low, but it feels awkward not even to try, right?

@Samantha - I'm not counting the smile, cause you're naturally a happy person, so a nod it is!

@runawaylife - True. I think if you're running in places with a lot of runners, then it's usually not customary to acknowledge others. So for purposes of this survey, I'll count your two finger wave ;)

@Rio - Okay, but I find that most of the time, cyclists are moving too fast to see something as subtle as a nod.

@Tricia - Thanks for the positive feedback. I wish people would know how disturbing it is to acknowledge others without reciprocation. Does it really require that much effort to even just smile or nod in response to a greeting?

@Pounding Pavement - Hey! Thanks for your comment. I hope you don't use the example of Central Park to generalize about NYC runners. In the park, there are usually so many runners and cyclists that it's impossible to say hi to everyone, so it's customary not to do so there. However, outside the park and Manhattan, where I run, runners generally still greet each other on the roads because they are so far and few in between.

Cathy said...

I say good morning to everyone I see when I'm out running - walkers, runners, cyclists, bunnies and squirrels on the side of the path. People don't always return the sentiment or even acknowledge me, but it doesn't bother me. I know sometimes people are just wrapped up in their own world or I figure they're just shy.

Ms. V. said...

I say hello to everyone, by nod or wave or eyeball. I eyeball people especially when I'm having a hard few moments.

I like to play a game when I'm having a rough patch. I wave to every driver too. I do a percentage calculation at the end. It keeps my mind busy.

Really, the wave, nod or hello is about ME, and where I am on the run.

3:59:59. Bitches. said...

I go for a wave with a cheery "Morning!" if I'm not sucking wind so hard I can't get the word out. As someone who roughly splits my running time between NYC during the week and suburban Connecticut on the weekends, I will say that the city-folk are less receptive to the greeting, regardless of age/pace.
Love the runner-meets-anthropologist thing you've got going Lam!!

Julie said...

Hi Lam,
I think it is a great idea to do a survey question every week! You know how much I love analyzing everything:)

I would say that the way that I acknowledge others runners is to smile and do a little wave:) Most of the time other runners wave back. There have been times where I am ignored but I think it is because they are in their own little zone. I can get that way too if I am thinking deeply about things.

I hope that you enjoy the rest of the weekend Lam! Back to work for me tomorrow....so not ready!

lindsay said...

i do all of the above, but not in combo's, just one. it just varies, depends on my mood i guess? i'm more likely to say 'good morning' if i'm running in the morning and wave/nod if it's the afternoon. oh the science...

erica sara said...

Love the survey idea Lam!

I usually nod &/or smile. Sometimes too focused on my breathing to say hi. And sometimes I'm just too much in my own head to notice others around me. Maybe that's what you experienced that morning?

I promise to nod or smile if I ever see you running around NYC :)

Blaine said...

If I'm coming up on a pair of walkers or slow runners, I generally will give out a "good morning" as I come upon them. I feel like it's the same courtesy as when I'm on a narrow trail and a biker comes up and says "bike on your left" or something.

If a runner is facing me, then generally it's short one handed wave with my hand about chest hi, but close to my body. I get varied responses, but more often than not I will get a wave or a nod in return.

Jamie said...

I nod or do the slight wave if I make eye contact. I always try to reciprocate unless I don't see/hear them. I've noticed acknowledging runners depends on where you live/are running. In Ohio, nearly everyone says hi/good morning. In Chicago, I am either ignored or get the head nod.

Roxanne said...

I smile, if the smile is acknowledged, I will nod if don't know the person, I'll wave if I've seen the person several times before on the circuit and I'll even say a good morning if I feel I know the person. Return rate: 30% from fellow runners and 80% from walkers and such. I feel it is important to acknowledge fellow runners, we are sharing the same roads and most of us are doing it for our own sanity in the first place, why not look like you are enjoying it and acknowledge the fact that they are working just as hard as you are?!?!?! Unfortunately, most runners on my route are rude or snobs. Too sad!!!

Anonymous said...

maybe the high schooler was still mad because you are the super fast old guy who showed up his entire team..and maybe he told the other guy and the lady about you.

Did you ask any of them to time you?

RunnuRMark said...

I like to mix it up. Sometimes it's a wave, sometimes a nod, sometimes a verbal acknowledgement. Women usually get an added smile thrown in. Reactions are hit and miss, but probably a higher response rate here in the midwest than you see in NYC.

Betsy said...

I almost always say hi. I'm in the Midwest, so you know we are friendly. If I am out with my running club and see a fellow running going in the opposite direction on the path, we'll say something like, "Nice job," or "Hey, looking good."

A nod or a wave is an absolute minimum.

J said...

I usually wave if I see the person has headphones. I try to say good morning to everyone I pass. I really try to gauge and see if the person is looking at me and if they are then I wave or say hi. Often times the other person is on the opposite side of the road and I am trying to run without getting hit by the cars flying by so I wont say anything. This is a tough question! it really depends!

John said...

I nod or wave if I am pushing the pace; if it is a comfortable pace, I will say "good morning."

sRod said...

In New York I've found all of this hopeless. Runners here are stoic and have horse blinders on. All with good reason.

When I'm running in my neighborhood and less populated areas I always nod or semi-wave (two-three fingers in a half-hearted wave). Even though I know I'll get stonewalled I say hi to my neighbors because I run there the most and I want to help make the place friendly. Also, if I'm ever hurt and I might have to count on the kindness of one of these people--so I'm buying points now. In other parts of the city I nod/wave to let the other runner know that I'm not crazy and that I'm cheering for them a bit.

The only place I don't nod/wave is Central Park. Utterly useless. You can't find a kind face there to save your life.

Michelle said...

I am a friendly runner. Smile, nod, wave or good morning and if I don't get a response I'm all later for you. I don't change who I am ~ unless I suspect danger, I am all smiles.

Christina said...

In Europe runners won't look you in the eye, which is so different than here. I'm in Arizona and we greet everyone, or so it seems. If its early in the morning and I'm spunky, I'll say good morning or a hand wave. I'll do this for bikers too. As the run goes on and I get more tired, a head nod is about all I can do.

If its Saturday morning rush hour and there are lots and lots of runners, then I won't do a greeting unless there is eye contact, and I guess that is enough in itself.

carpeviam said...

Eye contact and a casual lift of the hand.

 
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