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Runner Etiquette: How To Deal With A Pace-Pushing Training Partner

Our etiquette expert handles pushy partners, running through a crowd, and unflattering race photos.

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Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!

Q: What’s the best way to get through a crowd of walkers or slow runners during a race? When they’re taking up the whole street, I’m not sure what to do!

Rather than shout, “Coming through!” and watch the group get confused and scatter not knowing where you’ll actually be coming from, I would advise moving toward the left and as you get close, call out, “On your left!” so they know you’ll be passing on the left. (If it’s easier to go right, then do so and call out, “On your right!”)

You may wind up running on the side of the road for a bit as you pass, but it’s better than trying to plow through the group. If there truly is no room, still do the same, but know you may have to call out more loudly or repeatedly for others to understand that you need them to move over. Remember to keep a positive and friendly tone and say, “Thanks!” as you pass by.

Related: Race Day Strategy

Q: My friend always pushes the pace during runs (even ones that are supposed to be easy) and it drives me crazy! How can I get her to stop being so competitive?

You have two options: Talk to her, or stop training with her. You could try something like, “Jackie, I love running with you, but I feel like you’re running at a pace beyond what works for me. I know we need to push ourselves, but would you feel comfortable staying at my pace, or one we can agree on ahead of time?”

While she may need that feeling of competition to drive her forward in her training, if it’s driving you nuts, you may have to find a new training buddy. Best to talk to her, state what you need, listen to what she needs and see if it matches up. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, but at least you both will understand why.

Related: What Type of Running Buddy Are You?

Q: My running buddy posted a really unflattering race photo of me on Facebook. I think it was a nice gesture, but I was really embarrassed. What’s the best thing to do?

You can always ask for a photo you’re in to be removed. Hopefully your friend will comply. You can also untag yourself from a photo so that it’s not searchable via your name. If you’re okay with leaving this photo up, but would like your friend to ask you in the future, then try saying, “Hey Jim, I understand you just want to be supportive and share our accomplishments, but if it’s okay with you, I’d prefer not to have race photos of me posted online unless you’ve cleared it with me first.” Remember to thank him for understanding.

Related: Take the Perfect Race Photo

Have a question for Lizzie? Email or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.