Running as a Couple: Highs & Lows and 5 Tips To Make it Work

So, I'm dating this guy I really like. 2014-07-06 10.29.20

And together we sometimes do this thing I really like.

Double Bridge

You'd think that if I could combine the two things I really like into one activity that it would be awesome all the time, right?


Wrong. Actually, so wrong that I snapped at Travis for the very first time on our run together Sunday.


A bit of history on us. Travis has been running for a few years, so he's been at it longer than I have, but he's never been competitive about it or trained specifically for anything other then Army PT tests. I've been running for two years and from the beginning I wanted to run all the races and be the best I could be. I've been busting my butt trying to get faster. My first 5k race was 31 minutes, and my most recent was 25:30. I took my half marathon time down from 2:21 to 2:10, and now I'm working on marathon #3 and hoping to get the 4:30 finish I trained for last year.

Travis just ran his first half marathon, for fun, with zero formal training (I think we did an 8 mile run together the weekend before) and finished in 1:52.


Back to my first snap-attack. We've been running together almost since we started dating a few months ago. My everyday pace is about a 10:30 and Travis can comfortable run under 9 minute miles. So, he's been slowing down to stay with me and I've been pushing it a bit so I feel like I'm not holding him back as much (even though he constantly reminds me that he doesn't care about pace.) This past weekend I had two really, really difficult runs. I did my first trail run on Saturday and it tore up my legs. Not to mention it's usually 85 degrees out and 90% humidity by 6 a.m. so trying to maintain anything under an 11 minute pace is virtually impossible for me, even with the stops I take after 3-4 miles now. Travis is starting to see how hard I am on myself. It is SO frustrating not to be able to make my body do what I want it to, especially when I was just able to run certain paces with no problems a few months ago in cooler weather.

I'm huffing, puffing, and genuinely feeling like if I don't take a walk break I may die, and Travis is literally skipping around and chewing gum.

There's a part of me that wants to trip him (love you honey.)

He can see how frustrated I'm getting and tries to tell me to relax (no helping.) Or, he'll try to be nice and motivate me saying I'm doing a great job (I don't want to hear it.) It's basically a lose-lose situation for the poor guy. He tries to preach to me about 'intuitive running' which is his idea that he runs fast when he feels like it, and runs slower when his body tells him to take a break. I don't operate like that. I like plans, and goal paces, and schedules I can stick to.

So, after a rough run Saturday we go out for a 5 miler on Sunday. He says something to me, jokingly, as I've stopped again and am kind of hating my life. I don't even remember what he said but before I could even think about it I gave him a swift, "eff you" and ran off. Since he's so damn fast he caught up to me in no time and couldn't believe I didn't see how clearly he was being sarcastic with whatever he said. Looking back my judgement was obviously clouded by the death heat rays and trying not to vomit. I realized then that if we wanted to continue running together we'd have to formulate a new plan.

Tips For Running With Your Significant Other

1. Don't do it. I'm kind of serious. Unless you both are going into it with the same positive attitude and viewing it as a time to just have fun and hang out togeher then skip the run and go for a walk or hike instead.

2. Let go of the resentment. Travis is naturally faster than I am, for many reasons. He's a guy (sorry ladies but they are faster in general, look at Boston qualifying times to see the differences in gender!) He's been running longer than I have. He's just - faster. It can be depressing to constantly be running 5 feet behind someone. But, it's depressing only because I let it get to me. I have to let it go. I can't look at him and get frustrated with my own legs because they can't move faster. In a way I need to pretend like I'm out there on my own again and just run for me.

3. Plan to run together, separately. If Travis decides to really train for a race he'll have to stick to a different pace schedule then me. In that case we would start our runs together, but break apart and know when/where we will meet up again. Finding an area with a nice loop would be perfect for this. There is a park by Travis's house that he loves to run at where we could run our own paces but constantly pass each other.

4. My tempo runs will be his everyday runs. On the rare occasion where we run together during the week we can plan for my tempo runs to be his everyday or recovery runs. Often when we do weekday runs I'll chug along at my 10:30 pace and every 5-10 minutes he'll sprint ahead about .10 miles and back to me so he's getting more of a workout in. He did that last weekend on our run so I ended with 8 miles at a 10:52 pace and he did 8 miles in about 10:15.

5. It can be amazing. I know I've been pretty negative toward it but running with Travis has been incredible. It's great to be dating someone who gets my desire to go to bed by 10 so I can wake up early and run. He doesn't mind waking up at 5 a.m. with me on a Saturday, my ugly runners feet, or my constant talk of 400's and training plans. I love being able to share a huge part of my life with him. He's reminding me that running should be fun, and I shouldn't beat myself up over arbitrary paces as long as I'm doing my best.

[Tweet "A soul mate isn't necessarily a sole mate. Should you run with your partner?"]

Further Reading:

Can Love and Running Coexist? by Runners World

Training/Running with Your Spouse Great insights in this Runner's World Forum

How to Run with our Spouse by Another Mother Runner (the pace chart is SPOT ON.)

Have you ever ran with your significant other? If you have any tips/advice please share!