How to Run with your Significant Other
First, happy Valentines Day! Are you celebrating with a run with your spouse?
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. We aren’t always running together, and there are months we don’t run at all together, but there are also months we run many easy runs.
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 these uninterrupted moments.
When we first met, we went for a runs together. We weren’t running as boyfriend and girlfriend, but just two people that liked to run. Several months later, I found him saying: “I’ll run with my girlfriend”, okay I guess we are dating now.
Many readers have asked: How do you run with your significant other? Or Could you share some tips to make running with my spouse more enjoyable?
Keep in mind, running with a spouse is not always sunshine and butterflies. One of you will always be the slower runner (that’s me!).
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 (near where we lived). All of a sudden he was running a few steps in front of me and silent. I began getting irrationally upset. Why were 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 in a single file straight line don’t talk much. Women don’t do that”.
(Yes, I called it dude running because it’s exactly how men run together. Silent, in a single line, and then they say it’s quality bonding time).
At the time, I didn’t know his life and running habits, and he didn’t fully know mine. Since then, we’ve had no more escalated running arguments, but my point is: it’s important to know any trainer partners habits. He wasn’t angry, mad, or sad, that’s just how he ran.
So How do We Run Together?
The Short Answer:
We both put on running shoes and start running.
The Long Answer:
More often than not, we run easier mileage together. One of you will always be the slower runner and it’s important to set ground rules and meet in the middle. Like running in a group, it’s important to set ground rules with your running partner. I’ll speed up my pace 10-15 seconds per mile, and he slows down a bit. We agree to try and meet halfway. That being said, my husband uses a watch even less than I do so we aren’t that numbers-oriented about paces.
My husband and I 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). He also likes trail running where I prefer long distance and the roads. We are usually on different training plans or training and racing for something else.
Occasionally he will do a tempo run with me, but that is the extent of workouts together. Has he ever done a 400, mile, or hard track workout with me? Absolutely not. I know I go from nice to mean in 10 seconds, and so does he.
We both like going to races. This year, my goal for racing a la Des Linden is “just show up.” The fast, the slow, the good, and the bad, I want to be there. Races for me, are always better workouts than workouts alone.
For us, going to races means we get to spend quality time together as well. We sign up for races together but the critical part here 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 and feeling. The majority of the time, we do not stay together. We both still love each other and love running. Post run or race, we connect back and cool down.
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. It can still be a run date if you aren’t racing together.
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. We are still husband and wife when we cross the finish line.
This is important for any group running a race together. Someone will feel better, and someone will feel worse. Let them go and don’t be offended. You would want them to let you go too, and you’re still friends (or married at the finish line).
Don’t Be a Sore Winner or Loser.
There is no point to “racing” your spouse or significant other. I remember one of my husband’s best races in 2017, the Double Bridges 15k. He ran a good amount with me and dropped me like I was standing still. I was so happy for him because he had no business lollygagging with me. We both crossed the finish, and we were still married.
Running with a significant other can be a fun and pleasant experience. I know my husband and I are fortunate we get to share that.
Finally, don’t force or guilt them into running with you. Don’t take anything personally; sometimes your spouse doesn’t want to run. You can spend time other ways. Some days I just want my me time and so does he. That’s okay too!
Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.
Questions for you:
Do you run with your significant other?
How are you spending Valentine’s Day?