Can you Train with a Significant Other?

Can you Train with a Significant Other?

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A recent Runner’s World article, “Can Love and Running Coexist?” examined the desire to connect with a partner through running and how that can be difficult to achieve. Within the article results from a runnersworld.com poll showed:

  • 58% of respondents indicated they never train with their romantic partner
  • 26% train and participate in the same races – although each at their own pace
  • only 6% train and race side by side.

This got me thinking about my running relationship with my husband. I’d say we fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum – often training together and, when possible, racing at the same pace. I say ‘when possible’ because I’m drawn to triathlons whereas my husband focuses on marathons and plans to get into trail running this year.

So with such differences in our events of choice – how do we make it work?

Planning

Every December we spend time planning out our yearly calendar. We pick races and plot out our respective training schedules. We select a few early season road races (before triathlon season starts) to train and race together. The rest of the year, my swim/bike workouts are an opportunity for us to continue to train together as cross-training for my husband.

Purpose

With any training – it’s important to set a purpose for the workout. Is this a tempo run, a recovery ride, a drill swim? We’ll ask one another – “what’s your workout today?” which is code for “lemme decide if I want to join you.” Depending on the purpose – we’ll offer company or decide to let one another focus on our individual workout goals for the day.

Pacing

When I tell people that we run together, I often hear “Oh, you’re so lucky he’ll run with you!” While I appreciate the sentiment, I want to scream – “He’s not slowing down for me!” I understand that it’s unique to have a spouse/partner who has the same pace as you, so I’d say that we’re a perfectly matched running pair when it comes to pace.

Processing

Our workouts range from silent (let’s face it – it’s hard to talk while swimming) to non-stop chatter. That chatter allows us to process what’s going on in our lives and often brings us to the topic of work. I’m not sure if it’s the runner’s high or the brilliance of my husband – but I often find some of my best work ideas during a run with him.

Partnership

From carpooling to grocery shopping to writing this article – we do many things together. Certainly much of that is by virtue of living together – but it’s also because we truly value each other as a partner. A few thoughts on what we value in one another:

My husband has a free spirit – I got into running/triathlons due to his exploratory nature and continuous desire to try something new. He’s also very appreciative and expresses it on nearly every run with a “we live here!” – meaning Minneapolis with access to such great running/cycling. It’s a constant reminder, even after four years of living out our dream of city life, to give thanks to what we have in running and in life.

What I value most about Jennifer as a partner is her unwavering support. She is always willing to provide me with encouragement and I know that whatever challenge I want next, she’ll be there to help me train and to cheer me on. We make a great team and I’m thankful for such a great partner.

What are your tips for running with a partner/spouse?

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Jennifer

Jennifer has been running for over 15 years. While she loves running – her true passion is triathlon. She'll be racing with TEAM SOAS as a brand ambassador during the 2014 triathlon season.

She likes to swim, bike and run in the city of Minneapolis where she lives with her husband and two dogs. You’ll often find her around Lake Nokomis swimming or running with her four-legged partner Ruby.

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  • Charles Rhea

    My wife (Ann) and I (Charles) train together 90+% of the time and have
    for the almost 15 years that we have been living an active, healthy life
    style. We start and finish all running events together and do all the
    same multi-sport events but usually start in different waves with
    whoever is done first cheering the other at the finish line. We do
    10-15+ races a year and this approach must be working as we have both
    been members of Team USA and competed in multiple ITU World
    Championships.

    Most importantly we have a tremendous amount of
    fun training and competing together and have many close friends from the
    events community.

    It is very unfortunate that there are so few
    couples who train and compete together. I consider myself blessed by
    the lifestyle we follow. If you are the only one in a couple who does
    train and compete you should reevaluate your priorities and figure out
    how to make it happen for you both.

    • Jennifer

      Charles – I agree, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to
      make training and racing together work! Brian and I used to do many
      triathlons together and had the same process: first to finish = first to
      cheer! I always wanted to do either Buffalo or Chisago as a couple
      (both of which have men/women in the same wave by alphabet or
      registration timing)! Completing an entire tri together was on my bucket
      list – before Brian decided to focus solely on running! Congratulations
      to all the success that you and Ann have had in your training and
      racing!

  • Jennifer

    Charles – I agree, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to make training and racing together work! Brian and I used to do many triathlons together and had the same process: first to finish = first to cheer! I always wanted to do either Buffalo or Chisago as a couple (both of which have men/women in the same wave by alphabet or registration timing)! Completing an entire tri together was on my bucket list – before Brian decided to focus solely on running! Congratulations to all the success that you and Ann have had in your training and racing!

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