Tag Archives: running buddies

How to Race with Your Significant Other & Not Kill Each Other

29 Apr

When I first met my soon-to-be-other-half (otherwise known as the Teacher because that’s what he does and cutesy nicknames involving a play on the word Husband annoy me), he was, suffice it to say, not a runner. For the first few months of our relationship he was pretty damn hostile to the idea of running. The teacher would happily come out to support me as I raced, but he breathed fire when I suggested the two of us go for an easy run together.

Somewhere along the way, things changed. I’d like to chalk the change up to the teacher’s realization that running is the most super-awesome-fantastical activity ever, and it has all these kick-ass health benefits, and you live longer and blah-blah-blah. But let’s be real, it was the incessant nagging that wore him down.

But anyway, things changed. Now instead of saying  “I can’t run today, I just found the perfect spot for my butt on the couch”, the teacher says things like “Hey, tomorrow is a run day, right? Man I can’t wait!”A few months of steady running later, and we ran our first race together on Saturday (the teacher’s first-ever race, and my first 5k).

Now, you might assume that racing together would be no big thang after having run together the past few months. But no, racing together is a whole different beast. So, a few suggestions on how to race together without wanting to punch each other in the face:

1) Agree on a game-plan before the race. Are you sticking together no matter what? Is one of you allowed run ahead if the other is having a crappy day? Make sure you both know what the plan is, otherwise the ride home will be a little awkward…

2) Read your partner’s body language. Reading body language is not a skill of mine. Oh, you don’t really feel like talking? Too bad! Let me tell you my whole life story! I’m standing too close? Here, let me give you a sweaty hug!

This was an issue for us on Saturday. The teacher usually likes to talk while we run. Mostly it’s me saying things like “Awesome job! Keep it up!” or “I really hate squirrels. Why are there so many freaking squirrels everywhere?” or “We shouldn’t have to run up hills. Hills just shouldn’t exist while you’re running.” So really, really important and exciting things.

On Saturday though, the teacher did not want to talk. I kept trying to encourage him and he kept looking at me like “Stop talking now because I do not like you at this moment.” If I had paid any attention to his body language, I would have shut the eff up instantly. He was clearly “in the zone” and wanted to focus, but I was all let’s-talk-about-all-the-things! So, yea. Pay attention to body language. It’s important.

3) Get to the race with plenty of time before the start. I usually like to get to the starting line 10-15 minutes before the race starts (this only applies to smaller races. For bigger races, especially with wave starts, I arrive about 30 minutes prior to the start). This gives me enough time to use the restroom, mess around with my music, and then line up. It’s the perfect amount of time to prep, but not end up awkwardly standing around trying to look like you know what you’re doing. If I had any common-sense, I would have thought ahead and built in more time for us to prep prior to the start of Saturday’s race. But common sense just isn’t my thing. We woke up a little late, took our time getting ready and didn’t arrive at the starting line until just a couple minutes before the race started. I rushed to find a porta-a-potty and the teacher forgot to take his wallet out of his pocket. Needless to say we were a bit frazzled when the starting gun went off.

4) Anticipate your partner’s needs.  This wasn’t really an issue for us on Saturday as we only ran a 5K. But, the teacher is talking about running a half-marathon with me in the future where we would absolutely need to try and anticipate each others’ needs. Does one of us need a walk break? Do we have gels or gummies for fuel? Do we need water or Gatorade? Training together will help you gain a better understanding of your partner’s running rhythms: when they start to tire, when they need fuel, when they can push, etc. Couples who run together, stay together. That’s just science.

5) Have fun. Seriously. With any luck it’ll be a beautiful day to race, so just relax and enjoy being out on the course together, whether you finish first or last.

Finish Line2.2

Note to self: your stride is horrendous. Fix it.