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Runner Etiquette: Is It Okay To Ask About Race Times?

Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!

Q: Is it okay to ask a friend what time she ran after she finishes a race?

It’s perfectly fine to ask someone’s race time. It’s a large, public event and people are often curious and want to wish you well no matter what time you finished in. Just be understanding and kind if your friend says she’d prefer not to share her time.

Related: How To Deal With Catcalls

Q: When you’re with your running buddies—should you let gas out or do your best to hold it in?

I’m not sure if you mean just hanging out, or if you mean while on a run, but I’m going to go ahead and assume the latter.

Gas happens (and it does happen to everyone), and you shouldn’t risk a cramp or feel uncomfortable just because you’re embarrassed. Either hang back for a second if you need to and then catch back up, or if you do release it while with your group, or if it happens unexpectedly, then just say, “Oh, excuse me!” and keep running. Runners should understand.

You can even ask, “What do you do when you really have to?” We all have bodily noises and needs, and sometimes it’s comforting to know how others deal with it.

Related: To Talk Or Not To Talk During Races

Q: What’s an appropriate way to thank my mother-in-law for watching my daughter while my husband and I go for long  Sunday runs?

That’s so nice of her! You could do any number of things, from a bouquet of flowers and a thank-you card to a dinner out. Since you get to enjoy your runs regularly, something that she could enjoy regularly as well, such as a magazine subscription or a monthly manicure, could be a nice thank you. Just be sure she knows the thank you is for her babysitting favors.

Have a question for Lizzie? Email editorial@womensrunnning.com or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.