How to Run with a Significant Other

how to run with a significant other

How to Run with a Significant Other

As most people know, my husband and I met through running.  It’s a hobby we both share.  You read the full story here.  We both ran long before we knew each other.

He is a faster runner and there are very few periods that we run the same pace, but it is enjoyable to share that time with him.  Running allows us to share uninterrupted time together.  During the day, it’s hard to find uninterrupted moments.

Since coming to Alabama, we’ve been running a lot more together.  While it usually involves being out the door at 5:30 am, it’s an hour we can spend together.

Many readers have asked: How do you run with a significant other?  Or Could you share some tips to make running with a spouse more enjoyable?

Keep in mind, running together is not always sunshine and butterflies.  I can remember a significant moment in our running relationship.  It was our first long run together.  I’m a very chatty runner and if you’ve run with me (or even raced), you know I’m yapping all the way.  My husband, however, is much quieter when he runs.  This took us a few runs to figure out.

We started off doing a 15 mile run in San Antonio, Texas.  All of a sudden he was running a few steps in front of me and silent.  I began getting irrationally upset.  Why were we even running together?  It was just silence.  I continued to get more and more upset until finally I snapped and said:

“I’m tired of this dude running.  Men just run single file in a straight line and not talking.  Women don’t do that”.

I didn’t know his running habits, and he didn’t fully understand mine.  Since then, we’ve had no more escalated running arguments, but my point is: it’s important to know any trainer partner’s habits.

So How do you Run with a Significant Other?

The short answer: We both put on running shoes and move one foot in front of the other.

The long answer of how to run with a Significant Other:

We run easier mileage together.  I’ll speed up my pace 10-15 seconds per mile, and he slows down a bit.  We agree to try and meet halfway.

We don’t do hard efforts together because our workout paces are not the same.  He is a faster runner and also has different goals.  (I like 5k-13.1 while he likes 5k-10k).

Occasionally he will do a tempo run with me, but that is the extent of workouts together.

Run with a Significant Other with Racing:

We both like going to races.  In my 2017 goals, I wrote how I planned to use a lot of races as workouts.  For us, going to races is quality time we spend together as well.  We like to sign up for races together.

The important part is we don’t race together.  We will warm-up and cool down together, but when the clock goes off, we race to our own standards.  The majority of the time, we do not stay together.

Racing for you is important because if one person is faster, it will create problems to stay on the course together.  Part of being with a fellow runner is that you can’t expect to stay together or feel the same every race.  Does it stink to be dropped by your husband or a training partner during a race?  Of course, but that is the nature of the sport.  We support each other, good or bad race.

There are some important things to remember to when you run with a Significant Other:

Ultimately someone might feel better on a particular day.  That’s okay, and there is no reason to feel upset by it.  With any running partner, it’s important to remember that running is for you.

Running and working out can be a great addition to any relationship, but your ability to run the same paces (or not) does define a relationship.

Meet in the middle.  Chances are you aren’t running the same pace or training for the same thing.  Don’t be selfish and meet halfway with paces and mileage.

Don’t Be a Sore Winner or Loser.  There is no point to “racing” your significant other because heck neither of you is bumping each other out of overall awards.

Running with a significant other can be a fun and pleasant experience.  I know my husband and I are extremely lucky we get to share that with each other.

Know each other’s habits.  It will make the run easier and it’s essential if you want to run with your significant other.

Finally, don’t force or guilt them into running with you. Don’t take anything personally, sometimes they don’t want to run.

Questions for you:

Do you Run with a Significant Other? 

Have you ever run a race with someone?


  1. You forgot the part when we were on that trail in San Antonio after you told me off about dude running. I proceeded, in spite, to run directly next to you… hurdling over rocks, bushes, and tall grass. 😛 Good times i’ll never forget.

  2. I ran my first race with my significant other this past fall. It was a 5K that we signed up for on a whim. We don’t run together much because he’s been running his whole life and his pace is way faster than mine. The days surrounding the race, it was in the 50s. The day of the race, is was obnoxiously humid and in the 80s. During the race, I kept telling him to go on, that we didn’t have to stay together but here ran my pace and let me cross the finish line right in front of him. It taught us that I’m a grouchy , silent runner while he is a chatty, happy runner. The picture of us crossing the line together may be my favorite picture of us together.

  3. My hubby hates running but lately has been waking up early to get on the treadmill. I’m hoping that means he’ll run with me at some point… but I’m trying not to push.. 🙂

  4. As you know my husband and I definitely do not run together because he is just not a runner. A long time ago, when we were just beginning our relationship, he said he would do a short run with me and he put in his headphones and off we went. I had the same reaction you did – why bother running together if we’re not going to talk?? 🙂

  5. My husband and I have done a few races together, but normally don’t stick together. The one time we did, he asked me to leave him and we both got grumpy. I’ve since learned that we should just race separate.

    I have trained for and run a half marathon with my stepmom. It was fantastic. She’s a little faster than me, which was good, because it pushed me to work harder.

  6. My spouse is just getting into running! My training pace is around 8:30, while her’s is more like 15. i’m definitely not always as patient as I should be! We fought a lot when she first started getting out there, but now I just try to think about our runs as quality time together instead of training

    1. That’s what we do too Katie. When you think if it more as bonding, I feel like the miles click by so much faster.

  7. My boyfriend and I have tried running together quite a few times, but normally ends with both of us getting annoyed/frustrated/angry with the other. Which is odd since we are normally very communicative and rarely get that way in other situations.

    He is MUCH faster than I am and also has very different goals. He is primarily a mountain runner and his goals each week are elevation gains and hours, not necessarily mileage. I am also a mountain/trail runner, but I also run in the city (he HATES city running and running flat). We have done quite a few trail runs together and we have come to realize that we generally just have to start at the same trailhead and we will see each other along the way. I still love it because we get the quality time of driving to the trail and seeing each other at the end and sharing our runs with each other.

    I hope in the future we can do more actual running together, but for now, this is how it works. Lol 🙂

    I loved your article!

    1. We used to get into more arguments but I think we have relaxed a lot lately. He sounds a lot like my husband…I hate hills and trail running but he loves it LOL.

      1. Lol!! Yes! I love it too, but road running and marathons is where my heart is at. Also we are both stubborn. SOMEDAY we will run together 🙂

  8. I wish my husband would run with me!

    I’ve only ever run 2 races with my husband. Once in 2012 we did the WDW Half together. I think he signed up because his family gave him a hard time a few months back about me running a half and him sitting on the sidelines. It’s safe to say that was the last distance race he’s ever going to participate and the last I will run with him. I’m all about pushing to your limits during a race and he’s not. It led to a bit of snippiness during the 13.1 because I wanted to run/jog and he wanted to walk.

    The only other time we’ve “run” a race together was the following year. We did the Family Fun 5K at WDW back when they still allowed strollers. Since this was just for fun and I wasn’t looking to race, it was a much more enjoyable experience. Since then I’ve taken up the racing and he’s just been my number one fan. He’s not into running and would rather be supportive of my running and that’s ok. It makes us both happy =)

  9. Love this so much. My boyfriend and I have been running together for a couple years now and like you…I’m a very chatty running and he much prefers not talking and sticking to his music. It’s been rough figuring out how we can run together without getting irritated but now it’s the BEST! we motivate each other and hold each other accountable.

  10. My fiance has run a few half marathons – and actually, when we train, we run about the same pace. He has fallen off the training wagon and now just runs for fun when I pester him to come with me on easy days. But I love that we can do 5-ish miles together and chat all the way. It makes those slower easy miles fly by.

    We’ve talked about running a race together some day. But he would want to 100% run the whole thing together no matter what, IDK if I would put in a whole training session only to know I HAD to go his pace even if I was having an awesome day. Maybe we should start with a 5K…

    1. Agreed that starting with a 5k would be awesome. To be honest, it’s also a good idea to talk about what will happen if one person feels better too. Let me know how it goes!

  11. All these tips are the ones I’d give about running with anyone. My brother and I share running as a hobby (though his is much more a passive hobby). Meeting in the middle is a nice tip. Since I am the more in shape runner (he’s faster when he’s in shape), I’ll do my easy runs with him… never workouts. And going to races with him is fun, too. We warm up together and cold down together after I’ve cheered him through the finish line.

  12. My husband and I also met through running (at a race then got married there 3 years later!). He is also faster than me. Of course, were both a lot slower now than we used to be. He does tend to run ahead of me, which can be annoying, but after 20 years together, it doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s more important that we’re out there together. And while we usually race our own races, he has stayed with me for some of the important ones. My first marathon, the two times we ran the Paris Marathon, and my return to the marathon a couple years ago. It’s worked for us for a long time!

  13. Great post! I am always trying to get my boyfriend to work out or run with me because he doesn’t on his own. I know he is insecure about being out of shape so the couple of 5Ks and races we have done together we always do our own thing. It’s actually really nice because I’m there at the finish to cheer him on and take photos!

  14. Such great advice from everyone. My wife is not a runner but enjoys cycling, so we combine the two. We try to choose routes that practically allow running and cycling. Yes the cycling speed is a little too easy but it is enjoyable, the wife gets to talk and I listen!! 😁

  15. You have no idea how these tips are useful for me! A few years back my husband and I started running together, but he’s not only super tall and I’m the opposite, he also has a very strong built and was a mountain bike champion in his youth. Me, I always loved yoga…So we come from different backgrounds and his running got better each day while I’m still learning. Long story short, when we run together I try my best to keep up with him but I physically can’t (I need to stride twice as fast to try to keep up) then I get a short breath and my run is ruined.
    So what we do now (we do trail running, by the way) we’ll start together and try to finish together, but during our run he does around 10k in the forest while I take another trail and maybe do around 5k 🙂

    1. I’m glad you guys have begun sharing the love of the sport together. Let me know how your running continues. Luckily, my husband and I are *about* the same height, although I have a very short stride.

  16. Good topic, and I hope you don’t mind if at some point I write a blog post about how Greg and I run together! Unless one of us is recovering from an illness or injury, we pretty much run at the same speed. We do not race together, but we do our easy runs together and some workouts. The biggest barrier is that it’s easier for me to get out of bed in the morning and be raring to go. It takes him longer and so I get impatient, and then he feels rushed. But we’ve come a long way in overcoming that– I typically do laps around our neighborhood until he’s ready to come out! He’s chattier than I am. I prefer quiet. But as long as he’s doing most of the talking and I just simply listen, then it’s good!

  17. This is solid advice. My wife and I used to run together a lot. She’s recovering from having a baby so she hasn’t got back into yet, and we have a new born so I’m slowly getting back into running. I’m faster, but we would use one of my easy slow runs to run together, and it was such a great way to spend time together.

  18. Such a great topic. I am a slow runner so when my boyfriend would come running with me, he’d always look like he was waiting for me, even though I was the one in training. Haha.

  19. Power couple goals! My running buddy and I are just that (close friends/training partners), and over the year, we’ve gotten into a really good groove when we hit the park together. In fact, he ran most of my 14 miler with me last weekend. We also have slightly different goals (I’m short-course exclusively, and he does mostly 70.3s and half-marathons), but we do all of our easy mileage together. It’s a good system. 🙂

  20. I have to admit I am more of a silent runner, I need a bit of quiet for the first while to get into my groove and after that I like a bit of chat too. I find running with guys is always very competitive – they’re always trying to get ahead of me!

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