A blog by runners. For runners.

Treadmill etiquette

Treadmill-etiquetteWe’ve already covered (outdoor) running and racing etiquette, but there’s one area of running etiquette we missed – the treadmill. Specifically, the treadmill in a gym setting. If you have your own treadmill at home, you set the rules there!

Rule 1: What’s acceptable outdoors isn’t necessarily OK indoors.
A few things we get away with on the run aren’t acceptable social norms any other time. For instance, blowing snot rockets or spitting while on the treadmill? Nope, that’s definitely not OK – even if you clean up after yourself.

What’s a runner to do? Get off the treadmill and grab a tissue (or keep tissues in your pocket) or go to the bathroom. Sure, it’s a hassle to stop running mid-workout, but you could risk getting booted from your gym otherwise.

Rule 2: Everyone doesn’t want to listen to your music.
While Rage Against the Machine may be your running jam, chances are others around you don’t feel the same way. Be respectful of those near you and keep your music at a low volume.

Rule 3: Thoroughly clean the treadmill when you’re done.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but I see people at my gym skipping this step all of the time. Runners sweat and sweat is gross – especially when it’s comes off of other people. Use the cleaner and rag or paper towels that the gym supplies, and thoroughly wipe down all parts of the machine that you and your sweat touched – the screen, handrails, belt, etc. (If you don’t see cleaner, ask the gym’s staff where you can find it.)

On a similar note, I also wipe down the screen of a treadmill before a run because I don’t trust other people to clean up after themselves. The last thing I want is to get sick. 

Rule 4: Obey the gym’s rules.
Many gyms have rules posted throughout the facility that members are expected to follow. For example, if the gym prohibits talking on the cellphone, don’t do it. Or if you’re supposed to limit your time on the treadmill to 30 minutes when others are waiting, get off the treadmill when the half hour is up. If you haven’t finished your run, wait in line to use the treadmill again.

Rule 5: Race the runner next to you…discreetly.
Are you guilty of “racing” the runner on the treadmill next to you (when the other runner isn’t aware of it)? This is a common practice among runners. Whatever motivates you to run faster, right? Still, try to be discreet about it. Always glancing at your neighbor can make him or her uncomfortable – and may make him or her hop on another treadmill further away, meaning you’ll lose your “competition”.

Any other gym treadmill etiquette rules we overlooked?

Written by Jen Matz.