5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts For Racing With A Partner

Racing with a partner can be tricky business in any race, never mind doing it in something as tough as multi-stage racing.  You have to worry more than just yourself; You have got your partner to think about!  The point is both of you want to enjoy the race while maximizing the chances of succeeding together!  With that in mind, here are the 5 Do’s and Don’ts:

5 DO’s

1. Do learn from each other

No one knows everything.  It is extremely valuable to be able to pick each other’s brain during a race.  Your partner will sometimes notice things that you don’t.    You will be surprised at what you can gain from your partner’s insight and vice versa.

2. Do research together

When it comes to doing a multi-stage race, there is a lot you need to know regarding nutrition, equipment, training, etc.  Instead of doing independent research before the race, save time by dividing up the work.  There is no point in reading the same articles all over if you can help it.  Don’t trust just one source, but check against multiple sources for validity.  Talk it over when in doubt.

3. Do talk strategy before the race

Everyone has an opinion on how they should tackle a race.  Discuss beforehand to avoid surprises.  There is nothing worse than not knowing what your racing partner is going to do, especially on race day.  Your partner may feel a sense of betrayal when they are caught off-guard by your racing tactics.  It is also easy to be clouded by one’s preconceptions and biases when formulating a strategy.  Seek a second opinion to avert making catastrophic mistakes.

4. Do allow independent decision making

While it is great to consult one another on what to do, make your decisions on nutrition and equipment based solely on what makes sense for you.  Because everyone is different, consensus is not necessarily the goal.  Listen to what the other person has to say, but ultimately you need to use your own best judgement.

5. Do allow for personal space

As much as you like to hang out with your racing partner, it is important to give each other space.  Why?  Racing day in and day out can be quite stressful and it is good to have time on your own to decompress.  Besides, take the opportunity to make new friends!  Remember, meeting people is part of the experience of multi-stage racing.  You often become long life friends with those whom you race  or tent with!  

BONUS:  Do support each other – Good AND Bad.

It may seem obvious on paper, but it may be more difficult when it comes to execution. It’s easy to support a partner when they fail or have a bad day, but for me personally, the hardest thing to do is support your partner when they succeed and you fall short. This is especially true when both partners are competitive athletes. Jealousy is part of human experience. Learn to accept it. Give the support your partner deserves and your love will be reciprocated when it’s your turn to shine.

5 DON’Ts

1. Don’t run together

Just because you are in the race together, it doesn’t mean you should run together.  In order to maximize both of your performances, everyone should race according to his/her ability.  The reason is simple.  By running your own race, you optimize your own pace.  Having the ideal pace allows you to run as fast as possible for as long as possible.  If you follow another person’s pace, you will either run too fast or too slow at any given point in the race.   Even if two people share similar abilities, they should still run independently because no two person feel the same at all times.  One person can feel good one moment and terrible the next.  In the end, it is always better to run your own race.   

2. Don’t eat the same food

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.  Eat what tastes good to you and gives you energy.  The best foods on paper don’t matter if it you don’t like them.  Make sure you test your nutrition ahead of time so there are no surprises.

3. Don’t squabble

When you spend as much time together as in a multi-stage race, it is easy to get on each other’s throats.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Arguments are unavoidable from time to time (trust me ;)), but don’t hold grudges and always think big picture and focus on the task at hand.  You are both here to have a good time and achieve the same goals so just relax!  

4. Don’t suffer alone

Share your problems and adversities with each other during the race.  It helps to have a shoulder to cry on when things don’t go right.  This is especially important in multi-stage racing because your mental game has to be on point day after day.  It doesn’t mean you have a license to gripe, but it does mean you can count on each other for support.  When it comes to solving problems, two heads are always better than one.

5. Don’t expect your partner to rescue you

When people enter a race together, they might unknowingly develop a sense of reliance on the other partner.  Don’t fall into this trap.  In a self-supported race, you have to be able to stand on your own at all times.  The moment you let your guard down is the moment you are vulnerable.  Expect support from your racing partner, but don’t rely on it. No one is going to drag you to the finish line but yourself.

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