My 10 Rules for Running Couples

Isn't it grand when a couple shares the same interest? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, not so much.

Dear hubby didn't always embrace running like I did. In fact, in the beginning he supported me with enthusiasm along the race courses with darling daughter. It was bliss. I saw a race I wanted to run. It was nearby and affordable. I raced. Then life changed.

Dear hubby was tired of being the cheerleader and wanted to run. Yippee! We can run together! But you see, that isn't what he had in mind. He didn't necessarily want to run with me. Hmmm....bummer. Don't take this wrong, sometimes he will run with me. Sometimes he wants to. Just not always. And having two runners under the same roof, three if you count darling daughter - and yes, she has raced, isn't always easy. And over the years, I have established some rules to live by.

My 10 rules for running couples:

1. Run your own run. Seems simple enough, doesn't it? But it may not always be the case. Just the other day I saw a women comment/ask if she will ever be as fast as her husband. I replied, I will never be as fast as mine. But why compare? Why torture yourself? Run your run. Run your pace. Run your plan. If you push too hard and too often, you are only risking injury...even if it is only your ego.

2. Try on the other shoe. I don't mean to physically put on your partner's running shoe but mentally put that shoe on your foot and think about it. Yes, we each need to run our own run but it is good to join in on your partner's run every now and then. And most often, you two probably run different paces so think about it first. It doesn't matter who is the faster one but it does matter how you react to it. Find a way to have a mutually beneficial run by running at an agreed upon pace. The faster runner can benefit from a long run at a slower pace than normal. And the slower runner can benefit from a shorter speed session, right?

3. Get talking. Express a general interest in your partner's running. Take advantage of the fact that you have someone to talk to daily who won't mind talking about running and who can understand runner frustrations. And sometimes just talking about running woes helps you find motivation and/or solutions.

4. Take turns. I truly believe most runners love to race. And if you are anything like me, a full race calendar keeps me motivated and challenged. But over time, my definition of full has changed to accommodate dear hubby racing due to childcare and financial issues. Find a way to take turns to ensure both running partners get their racing fix. And sometimes taking turns can mean running a race together!

5. Be upfront with race entries. This may seem silly to state but come on, talk to your partner before entering a race. It is the right thing to do. And no sneak entries or trying to hide races. First, your partner will find out eventually. Second, it is disrespectful. And third, is racing really more important that an trusting and loving relationship?

6. It is okay to enter your partner in a race. This may seem to contradict rule #5 but a surprise entry into a race you know your partner wants to run is a great gift. Just make sure you know they want to do the race and reap the rewards of seeing them smile with a gift of racing!

7. Be a supportive cheerleader. When it is not your turn to race, support your partner with enthusiasm. Yes, you may want to run the same race but no, it can't always happen. And do you want your partner to be gloomy on your race day? Probably not. Shower your partner with the support you would like to have on race day and trust me, the gift of support will come back to you. Remember rule #4? You are taking turns.

8. Let bygones be bygones. The longer you are in a running couple relationship, the greater the chance you will have an area, or areas, of disagreement. The past is the past. Let go of it. It is okay to say such and such bugged me but then let go of it. It serves no good purpose to dwell in the past.

9. Establish a happy budget. We are lucky that runners don't necessarily incur a ton of costs but shoes, supplements, and race fees can add up. As a couple, you need to establish the framework to fit running into your life and budget. One method I apply is this: running related items make great gifts! Birthdays, holidays, etc. are scattered throughout the year and are often associated with gift giving. Why not make these the times of year to give your running partner tools for success? I really don't think there is a runner out there who wouldn't love new running gear or supplements, is there?

10. Think before you take. Is that the last GU gel on the shelf? Is that the last of the protein powder? How about the sports drink? By all means, it is there for you to use but if your partner is racing the next day, or planning a longer run with more need, by golly, be a trooper and save it for them! And if you can't go without it, go out and get more!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that dear hubby has embraced the love of running.
Daily Affirmation: I am a master of finding a couple extra of minutes in each day.


  1. I love this post. My husband ran long before I did. Eventually I fell in love with it too. I actually ended up running half marathons before him. I used to get really upset when he didn't want to run with me. Now I'm ok with it. I love when we do run together. We definitely discuss speed and distance beforehand. but sometimes we both need to run separately. Plain and simple. And we don't race together either. Well, we did for his first half.

  2. Love this!
    My husband was a runner and then I started running and fell in love. But I did far more than he did in terms of racing and only now we are settling into a sort of balance where he understands my obsession and I understand his thin patience.

  3. This is a great list for compromising with the spouse in general! My husband isn't a runner, but we definitely have to plan our hobbies better now that I sometimes ask for a long block of time on Saturdays for training.

  4. Great timing on this post! My hubby actually just started running on our treadmill last week! While I'm super excited about the possibility of running with him, I'm also nervous. We both can be competitive people so I know I will need to remind myself to run my own race.

  5. If ever my husband decides to run with me I will remember this post :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great post! I love that Josh and I run together! :)

  7. Hi E! Check your e-mail, you won something ;) We're not a running couple (I'm working on that...) but when she was training for a 1/2 mary for walking, we were able to work around each other and make it work!!

  8. I love this! Great tips! I'm trying to get my husband into running. Slowly but surly he is coming around. lol

  9. I've been a runner for years and at one stage tried to encourage my husband to join in. And he did, for a while. But he never loved it and I'm kinda glad. It means that I always have a sherpa at events and I never have to fight over who's turn is it to run. He gets his exercise cycling to and from work and that works for us.

  10. Love it! My hubby ran first and got me into running, eventually I wanted to go along too. We do pretty well balancing things, but he's definitely faster! We do a lot of slower long runs together and balance it well so we aren't alone, but we don't race together. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nice post. I sometimes wish my husband ran. He ran track in high school and college and won't anymore. I think if he trained for a half with me, it would bring us closer. On the other hand, running is my thing and I am not sure how much I want to share. ;-) He does have his own sports interests, so your tips apply (scheduling, Gu, etc).


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