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Pack Etiquette

The Art of Good Pack Running

Pack running is harrier running. You may be a new member or an old member. But for everyone the key to an enjoyable run on club days is a good pack run.

Put yourself in the role of Pack Leader (this may just happen one day – if it hasn’t already). Where would you go? What pace would you run? What would you do if someone suffered an injury? Hopefully the following suggestions will provide some answers.

A good pack stays together – this means not just for 40 minutes of a 1 hour run. The idea of a pack run is to run at the pace of your companions, so it may be a little slower than normal. Don’t worry, this gives you an excuse to chat! Occasionally a pack will split into more than one group. If this occurs, the designated pack leader should delegate responsibility to other members to look after the sub-packs. And if you feel the need to sprint off the front for the last km of a pack run, perhaps you should consider a time trial instead.

Take care at road crossings – the pack leader should ensure road crossings are done in a safe place (preferably at a pedestrian crossing or over-bridge/underpass). In most cases, the best approach is to stop and re-gather the group, and cross as one.

Pace – choose a pack that you think you will be able to stick with for the duration of the run. There’s a no point joining a 4min/km pack if your race pace is 4:30min/km. If in doubt, be conservative and choose a slower pace than you think you normally might. You can always go with the faster group next week. There’s nothing worse than being left behind! A good pack leader leads from the back. Or to put it another way, the group should run at the pace of its slowest member.

Leader of the pack – your job is to be the good shepherd, and look after your pack.

  • Make sure that they cross roads safely.
  • Let them know where you are going.
  • Before you set out, how fast will you be going? Will there be hills? Off or on-road?
  • Think about leading from the back. This will ensure that you don’t leave anyone behind.
  • Stop from time to time to re-group. This will help everyone stay together and enjoy the run.
  • If the pack is splitting into groups of different pace, try to identify some to lead the breakaway group.
  • If an injury occurs, use common sense. Be prepared to stay behind with the injured runner and help them get assistance.