Running Buddies

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning! 😎

I started my day with a delicious batch of creamy Oats In A Jar. I’m not going to lie, I get really excited when we finish a jar of nut butter in our house.

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In the mix:

  • Rolled oats
  • Soy milk
  • Chopped dates
  • Pecans
  • Chia seeds 
  • Extra peanut butter

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With breakfast, I also drank a glass of iced coffee with soy milk and a big bottle of water. I’m trying to drink more water, so starting as soon as I wake up gets my day off on the right foot.

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When I ran the Black Cat 10 Miler with Monica and Chandra on Sunday, we talked about sticking together for the entire race, but we ended up just doing our own thing because each of us had different goals for race day.

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I ran with Monica for the first few miles of the race. She carried me along at a much faster pace than I would typically start a race, which probably helped me achieve my goal that day.

When we approached a big hill on the course around Mile 3, I just couldn’t keep up with her anymore. Monica looked back to see if she should slow down to run with me, but I gave her a quick wave to tell her to keep trucking along at her faster pace. I didn’t want to slow her down!

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The three of us finished the race at different times, and I don’t think any of us felt badly about not running together. We ran the best race we could that day and crossed the finish line, which was really all that mattered to us. However, I know some runners who train with others, who would probably get upset if they were left in the dust by their running buddy on race day.

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Question of the Day

Do you stick with your running buddies during races? What is the protocol for not ruffling feathers or hurting anyone’s feelings if you want to split up?

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104 Comments

  1. The only buddy I had that would stick with me was my husband. 🙂 He always liked motivating me. And he would do army cadences to help keep the pace and to keep my mind occupied.

  2. Dang, lady! You must get up early!

    I think it’s perfectly fine to start off with your race buddies but then part ways around the halfway point, if necessary. I konw there have been times where I just couldn’t keep pace with my buddy (faster or slower) and trying to keep up drains a lot of energy! It’s considerate to stick together, but I find it more considerate to let people run at a natural pace.

  3. Hm, I’ve never ran a race yet and I’ve never ran more than 3 miles with a friend. So I’m just gonna take a guess on this one, that I think I really like running alone and company can be nice at parts, but I don’t think there should be hurt feelings when everyone has their own physical capabilities.

  4. I think it should be understood that youre running your own races unless specifically deciding otherwise well in advance – when doing a planned fun run or one person signed up to help motivate the other for example. Either way it should be assumed you’re doing your own unless both parties understand its together from the get go.

  5. I love running with buddies, but when it comes to races I think it’s important to have a plan. Together, you can decide what pace you hope to run and what you will do if one person wants to go faster or slower. As fun as running with a buddy is, sometimes it’s much more relaxing to run my own race without worrying about how I affect someone else. Congrats on your success at Black Cat!

  6. I was all about my own goals….I signed up for a marathon with a friend, but soon after the start, it became apparent that she was MUCH faster than me….so I signaled her to go on ahead…I didn’t want to try and keep up and burn out too quickly!

  7. I think running buddies are great if you have the same goal or if you need the support, but otherwise, I would think you should just run at your own pace. I think it’s great to know that you have friends running it too though!

  8. I usually avoid running with other people because this question stresses me out so much! I would NEVER want to hold another runner back. I’m all about going for your individual goals. Sure there will be times when you’re not shooting for a certain time and it’s just more fun to run together. But if you’re looking to PR, I say it’s fine to branch off on your own. That’s why it’s called a PERSONAL record. Not a group record…if that makes sense.

  9. The last time I ran a 5K with friends, we decided pre-race that we were just going to do it on our own and not worry about sticking with anyone. It worked out for the best, because one of us was super fast, two of us were in the middle range, and two were on the slower side. I did run with one of my friends for a short while but took off towards the end when I realized I could pick up my pace.

  10. I honestly think trying to run a race with a buddy is a waste of your money and time…that is what training runs are for. If you are going to pay money to enter a race, you might as well make it your own and run at your own pace…if you’re ever going to push yourself to your limits, this is your chance to do it, so why blow it by sticking with someone who is slower than you or having a bad day? The only way I would try to run a race with a friend is if he/she was a FASTER runner than me, and I was using them as a pacer..

  11. how much peanut butter do you eat a week? I finish an 18 ounce glass every week all by myself. Crazy, right? Nobody believes me when I tell them how much peanut butter I eat because I’m quite skinny but it’s true. Peanut butter is just so amazing!

  12. This is exactly why I don’t like running with people, haha! I’ve run with people both faster and slower, and I hate feeling like I’m slowing someone down, and I never know whether I should go ahead if someone tells me to or not. I think group running is the best for that reason- if you’re with 5 or 6 people, it’s likely you’ll find a buddy with your pace!

  13. We always have a plan before the start of the race to stay together as long as we keep the desired pace. If one should be feeling amazing or in turn not having a good race we split up and meet eachother at the finish. I think it is important to communicate and have a plan before the start so everyone is in agreement.

  14. I am really lucky, my twin brother ran my first 1/2 marathon with me, at a MUCH slower pace than he would have run, he’s in the Navy and runs much faster than I do, but he stuck by my side the entire way… 🙂 He signed up to run with me, so he knew he was going to be running slower than normal. I think that if it’s decided before the race to stick together than you should, if not, then by all means run at your own pace. I think communication is key, even if half way through the “plan” needs to change, then change it.

  15. My run group always tries to discuss what we are doing in each race – is it a race, training run etc. what paces is everyone running but we always have a pact that if someone wants to give it in a race…do it. If someone has agreed to pace someone else…you don’t drop them.

  16. For me, it depends on what the race is and what my own goals are for the race. When I ran a marathon with my sister, we trained together so we decided that we would run together no matter what since it was our first marathon and we wanted to finish holding hands. But-if it is a race that I am trying to PR at or a friend is, I would definitely let them go ahead of me. Running can be tricky because you never know what kind of a run you will have that day–so saying you will stick together no matter what may not be the best idea.

  17. For races I think it’s silly to hold someone back or be held back yourself for the sake of sticking together. When I’ve run races with friends, we usually start out together but know that eventually we’ll likely be apart. I think it’d be fun to run an entire race with someone, but even if there is someone at my general speed level, you just never know who’s going to be feeling it on a given day.

  18. I always make a plan with the person I’m running the race with, and it varies based on the race. I’ve ran with friends for their first races, and stuck by them the entire time. Other times, I’ve ran my own pace. I tend to burn out quickly if I start off too fast, so sometimes it’s hard to watch my friends pull away from me early on, but I do MUCH better if I stay at a steady pace the entire race. I’ve made the mistake of trying to keep up during the first few miles and paid for it dearly by the end!

    I was going to run that 10 miler this past weekend as well but it didn’t align well with my half training. I’m doing my first half in May (Boston’s Run to Remember) and I’m not quite up to 10 miles yet! Sooooo glad the snow is (mostly) gone and I can get off the dreadmill!

  19. I’ve only run one race, but I ran it with two running buddies and we all stuck together. Or, I should say, they all stuck by me! I was sidelined by the effects of the winter air on my asthma, so I was not going as fast as I thought I’d be, but they encouraged me through the race. I couldn’t have done it without them!

  20. I run with my cousin and she’s faster than me. We start together and usually after a mile or so, she’ll speed up and run ahead. We’ve had a race or two where we ran the whole thing together and we ran 8 miles of our first half together until I told her to go ahead. I’ve read that if you’re running with someone you should stay with them but I’ve never been upset when she goes ahead… I want her to reach her goals!

  21. Usually when I run races, I’m on my own. I’ve done a few with friends, but we sort of go in expecting to break off and go for whatever our own goals are. Usually the times we’re aiming for are different, so it makes sense to follow different pace bunnies. Having said that though, we usually start out together and run the first couple of km’s together.

  22. I’ve been trying to drink water in first thing in the morning lately too … some days work better than others, ha. But now I’m going to be going and getting some water ; )

  23. My sister and I ran a half marathon last weekend and were together for less than a mile. She’s a lot faster than me, and I didn’t mind at all that she took off. I would never feel bad about being left because I want my running buddies to do their best and reach their goals 🙂

  24. I trained with a friend for the NYC marathon last year and we did tons of races together as part of the training. We didn’t always stick together, one day she was having an awesome day and PR’d at the half another time it was my turn to have a good run. I like my running buddy to do well so I don’t mind if we split up 🙂

  25. if im the slower friend, i definitely dont want my friend dragging behind just to stay with me! for my tri in august, i think i will do the swim portion with my friend just to make sure we dont drown 🙂 but the rest of the race is on my own!

  26. I think it totally depends on how you feel that day. For my first marathon, I ran it with my brother and sister. I envisioned all of us running the entire race together, but by mile 5 our brother was just too speedy and we sent him on his way. By mile 13, I was dying and it took me 3-4 miles to convince my sister to go on without me.

    Now, if I “force” my sister to run a race with me (which I often do) and I feel that I could run faster than her…I stick with her.

  27. Oh yeah I’ve had this predicament. The 10K I ran in Oct, was a first for me and my friend so we werent worried about times or anything. Shes a little slower than me, which is fine, but the problem was she was having a particularly bad day and needed to stop to catch her breath more often, and I was having a particularly good day and felt great. I stayed with her for a while, and felt bad when I left, but I just needed to keep going. I dont think she minded, although in the beginning she gave me a “you can go ahead if you want but if you stayed that would be great too”…ugggh what do I do with that info!? Which is why I stayed for a while, including stopping to walk with her, but then finally around mile 4 went off on my own and so glad I did.

    Its funny though because I love taht she keeps me at a slower pace in the beginning to I dont burn out, then I feel great towards the end so I can speed up 🙂

  28. I have been reading your blog for over a year and still haven’t tried OIAJ! I need to get on it! When I ran my first half marathon, my roommate and I ran the entire thing together. And the funny thing is we only ran one long run together during training. It was so much better then doing it all on my own though. 🙂

  29. I think I definitely worry too much about how the person is doing that it affects my mental endurance. I’m running a 10 miler in the spring with friends and it’s making me nervoussss!

  30. When my boyfriend and I ran our first 5K together last year, he stuck with me the whole time. I told him to go ahead if he wanted to go faster, but he stayed with me, and I was very glad because he pushed me and I finished ahead of my goal time 🙂

  31. Me and my running buddy stick together! We both run faster together because we push each other and become more competitive. Plus we both crack each other up so the run goes by faster!

  32. I have a group of running buddies who meet on Sunday mornings to run 8-24 miles, depending on where we are with our respective training schedules. Most years, a big chunk of us are running Boston and although we start together and often have similar goals, we all understand that once that gun goes off, meeting our goals is our own responsibilities. No one gets hurt feelings and we all meet up afterwards to trade stories, if we don’t end up seeing each other during or at the end of the race. Part of being a good running partner is being able to encourage other runners, even if it means them leaving you in their dust!

  33. It all depends — sometimes Jason and I stick together and sometimes we each run at a different pace. I think as long as you talk about it beforehand (and during the race too) — there shouldn’t be any problems. Sometimes I feel really good and I say so — and that I want to get going. We support each other so it works out.

  34. I think starting off together and going your separate ways is fine…but I am slow and always let my running buddies take off. I dont want to hold them back and it doesn’t make me feel bad…besides, they are already there to cheer me on at the finish!

  35. Typically we stick together on all training runs and then start together on race day, but once we hit our groove we just go with it and we each run our best. We meet up again after the finish line 🙂 I think its important to understand that you are running your personal best and not your friends… hopefully they understand that too if your faster than them!

  36. I’m running a race with a friend in June and I’m doing it because I want to share the experience with her. She has just recently got into exercise so this is a big event for her. While I want to do well in the race, I’m more focused on that bonding experience with her and encouraging her. I suppose it depends on the circumstances.

  37. I’m running my first race this coming weekend with a friend. I have no goals for this race except to cross the finish line. I don’t have experience with this issue but I’d want my friend to run the race as she needs to and would hope she’d feel the same. 🙂

  38. i think its good to talk about and decide your plan with your buddy BEFORE the race starts so you know going in, whether you’re going to stick with them and finish together or do your own thing and that way, no one can get upset or their feelings hurt bc you’ve already mutually decided on the plan.

  39. I have to say, I do NOT like running with friends because it always raises this question for me: do you stay with them the whole time? I believe the only way running with friends really works is if you run at approximately the same pace, or if one of you makes the conscious decision to run at the other person’s pace.

    Honestly, I have always preferred running by myself, and only being accountable to me. That’s just my opinion, though. A lot of people run very well with buddies, and that’s great.

  40. I’ve only done 1 race so far but I did run it with friends and we’re all at different levels. I also write this as one of the slower ones running the 5k. The slower runners stuck together for a bit and when my other friend (who’s not a runner) needed a walking break she just told me she was stopping and smiled and waved.

    I think its fun to run together but it depends on your goal. If you’re just doing it for fun then you could stay with the friends but if everyone is trying to set a PR then its ok to split up… just cheer eachother on!

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