Can you Train with a Significant Other?

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?

Jennifer

Jennifer has been running for over 15 years. While she loves to run – her true passion is triathlon. She'll be racing with TEAM SOAS as a brand ambassador during the 2014 and 2015 triathlon season.

Jennifer likes to swim, bike and run in the city of Minneapolis where she lives with her husband and dog, Ruby. Her favorite running (and swimming) route is around Lake Nokomis, where you'll often spot her with her four-legged running partner.

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