1. The awkward overtake
You’ve been running behind someone but they’re not going quite fast enough. So you decide to overtake them, but then you’ve got to keep your overtaking pace up for miles, just to prove you really did need to overtake. And to avoid the awfulness of them overtaking you again. Because then you’d have to start the process all over again.
How to avoid it: Hold your nerve, stick to your pace like a metronome and try and forget they are there. Or, if you prefer, change your route slightly.
2. The embarrassing non-greeting
You pass someone running the other way, and they nod, smile, or say hello. But you don’t notice until it’s too late. So now you look like the world’s rudest person for ignoring their greeting. Or else you find yourself shrieking “Hello!” at their departing back. The horror!
How to avoid it: Be the first to nod, smile or say hello to everyone you meet. Or just avoid eye contact completely.
3. The awkward merge
You’re in your own world when you realise that someone else is heading the same way as you. As your paths merge, you realise that you are running at almost the same speed and there’s no escape.
How to avoid it: Take a different route, stop for a second to adjust your shoe, or look at your watch and then accelerate ahead of them.
4. Bumping into someone
While out running, at some point you may well see someone you know, such as a friend or acquaintance going about their daily life. But stopping for a chat when you’re all sweaty and out of breath is kind of awkward. And it’s even more embarrassing if you’ve bumped into your boss, your crush, or your ex...
How to avoid it: Rather than stopping for an awkward chat, give them a friendly wave and a hello (or just a smile if it’s more suitable) and keep on going. They will realise you are in the middle of an important training session and will be suitably impressed at your dedication.
5. The sweaty shopper
After your run, you’ve planned to grab a few things from the local shop on your way home. But, as you stare at the shelves blankly you become aware that you’re dripping sweat on the floor and you smell rather less fresh than a daisy.
People are avoiding standing near you. You consciously give everyone a wide berth, until you’re backing into corners, bumping into people and your tomato red face turns beetroot. At the cash desk you pull out a crumpled, sweaty fiver and the cashier grimaces.
How to avoid it: Allow yourself time to have a proper cool down, walk around the block for a few minutes, or pat yourself dry with some tissues before hitting the shops. Pay with a card to avoid the awkwardness of using soggy notes stashed in your sweaty sports bra or shorts pocket.