What could be better than sharing the sport you love with the one you love? That’s the thought running through the minds of many a wistful avid runner who wishes their partner would join them on the roads. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who has a significant other that shares your love of the road or trails, but if you’re not, running with your partner can be easier said than done. If you’re convinced that 2020 is the year you and your significant other will finally pound the pavement together, you might want to consider incorporating these tips.
- Set a Good Example: Running with your partner, especially if they are a brand new runner, cannot be a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. It’s your job to make sure the newbie covers all the basics of becoming a new runner and doesn’t just immediately try to copy you. You should take your significant other to get fitted for shoes at a running store and run at a conversational pace with plenty of walk breaks and rest days built-in. It’s important to know when to keep your mouth shut, though – some lessons have to be learned the hard way, and you don’t want to argue about running.
- They Make the Rules: Do you remember how intimidating it was to start running? If you’re like many of us, the idea of running with another person was probably terrifying. What if you’re too slow and can’t keep up? Your partner probably feels the same way about running with you. Make sure to tell them that they will set the pace and make the rules, and stick to it – no judgment about walk breaks and rest periods. This should be fun, which means keeping the pressure off.
- Go it Alone (Sometimes): Regardless of whether you’re training for a specific race or just getting out the door to stay in shape, it’s impractical to do every single run with your spouse or partner. Set aside a few days a week to run at your own pace or distance. This will help prevent injury for the new runner (who likely cannot handle the same mileage you can) and allow both of you to relax and settle into the pace that feels natural for you individually.
- Prepare to Be Surprised: One of the toughest pills I’ve ever had to swallow was realizing how “easy” running seemed for my spouse, who’s nearly a foot taller than me and built like a gazelle. It seemed so unfair that I’d been running for years and still huffed and puffed my way through workouts while he seemed to move with ease. Remember: everyone’s body is different, and our abilities are not the same. Don’t feel discouraged if you find that running seems especially easy for your spouse, and if the situation is reversed, remind them that you’ve been at this a long time. Encourage each other!
- Make it a Date: To celebrate the commitment that your significant other is making by running with you, plan something fun as a reward after those first few runs. Whether you’re running to breakfast, planning to visit a local park, or plan to get some frozen yogurt after your workout, make the experience feel like a fun date and it will probably go over a lot more smoothly than running on its own.