I had completed my first two marathons in the last year, so I thought of myself as a pretty "serious" runner (as in I was completely obsessed with it). My significant other had also run regularly for the past few years and, when we began dating, it was quickly apparent that running would take a central role in our relationship.
It's great having a partner who understands your desire to be in bed by 9 p.m. on a Friday night so you can run 12 miles the next morning, or that it's totally normal to eat an entire box of cereal in one day.
However, it's not always easy. We don't run in slow motion, glistening with sweat as we laugh and effortlessly jog through gorgeous parks while discussing the nutritionally balanced kale and oatmeal laden breakfast we'll whip up when we get home.
In reality, it's usually me trailing behind him, huffing and puffing while cursing him silently in my head for how easy he makes a pace look that I'm struggling to maintain. A few of our very first fights actually happened while running.
Nowadays, we have a much better understanding of what it takes to navigate our running relationship.
- Have a clear agreement on pace.What's easy for you and easy for your partner will usually NOT be the same. Before leaving the house, agree on a pace that works for both of you so one partner isn't constantly struggling to keep up. Also, think about walk breaks. I prefer to take one every 5-6 miles but my partner can't stand them! He will now jog out and back to meet me when he sees I'm ready to run again.
- Decide on how to handle it if one of you can't complete the run.I'm typically the one who gets sidelined by minor injuries or stomach problems while my partner runs on, happy and healthy as can be. Usually I tell him to just finish the run and that I'll be fine walking home. We make sure whoever will be home first takes the key with them, and we always bring separate cell phones in case this happens.
- Run together, alone.Some mornings we both want to run but at different paces or times. In this case, we'll usually pick out a regular loop to run so we can start out together, occasionally pass each other, but still do our own things.
- Stay observant of your surroundings.I never run with music and my partner is always vigilant about watching out for cars, but sometimes our focus can be more on ourselves than the road. While chatting together and enjoying each others company on your run may make for a fun workout, don't forget that safety is always the top priority!
- Have fun!Sign up for races together or plan an annual racecation . Don't forget that you both share a passion about something that's good for your health and your relationship. It can be easy to get caught up in comparing your paces, feeling competitive, or being frustrated if you're injured and the other isn't, but remember to look at the bigger picture: why you fell in love with running and your partner in the first place.
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