I've made a consistent effort to adhere to that rule even when the roads weren't as well paved on that side or the shoulder was smaller. In addition to following the rules, I tried to keep my body in sync by balancing the drop-off on the side of the road. If I were running on both sides (left side on the way out and left side on the way back), then one side of my body wouldn't be especially prone to injury.
However, I've discovered that the left side has become the more precarious side of late and I'm starting to think about switching sides permanently. Here's why:
- When you're on the left side of the road, cars that turn right are quite likely to hit you. They look left to ensure that no one's coming, but they NEVER look right. DC Spinster was hit by a car for this exact reason. I've lost count how many times I've almost been hit because drivers don't look both ways.
- However, when you're on the right side of the road, drivers are always looking your way. As they're turning right, they look left and that's where you're coming from. I always make a point to way to them to both tell them that I'm going in front of them and to thank them for watching out for me (which they wouldn't otherwise do, I'm sure).
- When I go up hills, cars also coming up the hills can see me on the right. They don't pop over the hill and have to dart into the middle of the road like they do when I run on the left.
- Just like it is in a car, right turns are easier to make while running. You don't have to re-cross traffic if you're running in a loop and you're not obstructing traffic while they wait for you to cross (if they, in fact, do wait for you).
I don't like the idea of not seeing traffic as it comes toward me when running on the right, but it may be a small price to pay for more safety in the rest of my workout.
What are your thoughts? Do you always stay on the left? Do you switch? Do you go back and forth?
Note: this is a US-centric post, so just flip the right and left side for those of you across the pond.