Ask Sugar Runs: Racing with Friends - What's the Etiquette?

I often get asked running related questions, so I thought I would start a series called "Ask Sugar Runs" to offer up my advice and insight. One of my running pals recently asked me about etiquette when you decide to sign up for a race with a friend. Racing with friends or family can be such a blast, but sometimes you can run into a tough place when you're feeling strong and they're not - or the other way around. Given that I've raced with quite a few friends, here's my take:

1. Talk about your goal from the start. If you want to get a PR, and your friend isn't as competitive as you, let them know your goal. Make sure they know that you might bounce if they are holding you back (in nicer words, obviously). And let them know it's okay for them to leave you too.

2. If it's their first race, stay with them. I never thought I would be able to run alone. Especially my first race. If it's your friend's first time racing or running a particular distance, that's a good reason to set aside your goals and help them achieve theirs. They'll be forever grateful to you for sharing such a tough experience with them, and you'll feel super proud for getting them through to the finish.

3. Always be encouraging, and never be mean. Some of us are very competitive, and my second half marathon, my shoes were worn to their last end and my feet hurt so badly that I had to stop every half mile and debate whether I was going to make it or stop at an aid tent and be transported to the finish. My running partner spent most of the time yelling at me to keep going and eventually left me. Not cool. Find encouraging words, like "Let's push to the next mile mark. We're almost there." Keep the communication going throughout the race so that you can gauge how they're doing and what kind of encouragement they need.

My Dad just signed up for his first half marathon at 60 years old. I'm so excited to run it with him and share that experience. This race will be about him, not me. I can't wait to cross the finish line by his side.

I hope you found this helpful. Since this is my first "Ask Sugar Runs" post, please let me know what other running/racing related questions you have so they can be featured here. You can comment here, send me a tweet, ask me on Instagram, or Contact me.

J