How to Leave a Running Partner During a Race

Tips for avoiding hurt feelings

Running with a buddy definitely has its benefits, but you may at some point find yourself in that awkward position of wanting to run faster than your running buddy during a race. So what's the proper way to leave your partner behind without feeling like you're abandoning him or her? Here are some tips on avoiding hurt feelings and a messy race day break-up with your running partner:

Have a race plan.

Runners hugging
Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz

Before the race, make sure you talk in detail about your race goals and strategies. If they don't match up, don't force it and change your plans just so you can run together. If you're on the same page, talk about how things may change during the race. Make sure you're both open to the possibility of splitting up.

Be self-sufficient.

Don't rely on your running partner for anything you'll need during the race, such as gels, a running watch, or hydration. Make sure you're both carrying everything needed for your race, so you won't be without necessary items if you split up. You don't want your partner to guilt you into sticking with her because she doesn't have pockets to hold her gels.

Communication is key.

During the race, make sure you communicate openly with your running partner about how you're feeling. Don't be afraid to say, "This pace is too fast for me. You go ahead." or "I feel really good. I think I'm going to pick it up."

Before you take off or slow down, let your partner know what you're going to do. He or she will definitely appreciate the heads-up before you start speeding up. If your running buddy gives you a hard time about leaving her, gently remind her that you're both running your own race.

Enjoy the race together in other ways.

Running side-by-side in the race is not the only way for you and your running friends to experience the race together. Go to the race expo together, hang out at the starting line, and make sure you meet up to celebrate after the race.

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