According to relationship expert Caroline Brealey and world-leading personal trainer Scott Laidler, running with your partner can do wonderful things to your relationship. From increasing your emotional bond to spicing up your sex life, it looks to be a win-win. And while for some of you it’s exactly that, for others, it’s just the ticket to romance (and running!) hell. To help you make your mind up whether it’s right for you, we’ve put together some of the pros and cons…
Endorphin mania: double your post-run high
We all know how good you feel after a run. The sheer rush of endorphins when you get through the door is, quite frankly, euphoric and, all of a sudden, the world feels a much more positive place than it did 7K ago. But imagine sharing that post-run high with your other half? According to award-winning dating and relationships expert Caroline Brealey, “celebrating accomplishments together can increase the bond in a relationship, making you feel like a team, creating an overall feeling of wellbeing [and] happiness”. Sharing the joy of a mutual accomplishment will see you both walking through the door happy. Now who’s cooking dinner?
If one of you is working hard to shed the pounds while the other is happy piling them on, this conflict in goals can cause tensions in the relationship. Working on your health, fitness and body goals together will not only help to ease such tensions but will make working towards these goals a whole lot easier. Scott Laidler, one of the world’s leading personal trainers and nutrition experts, believes it also can help to develop a deeper bond in the relationship: “Setting similar goals as a couple sends a signal that you are heading in the same direction. It’s a positive step that represents a shared commitment to a long and healthy life with each other.”
According to a survey carried out by Brooks*, 66% of runners believe they have more sex when they run with their partner! What’s more, the majority of the couples surveyed said that if they run six or more miles together the sex becomes even better still! As many of us run to improve our bodies, this shared boost in self-esteem as we begin to reap the rewards will help to enhance feelings of attractiveness in a relationship. Relationship expert Caroline Brealey advises that “the teamed together, energy and high level of attractiveness” achieved through running will “lead to an improved sex life for both.”
Those who run often see their training as a ‘selfish’ pursuit, requiring time and focused attention away from their partner and their needs. In pursuing a fitness goal together, your routines will be synced, allowing you to spend quality time together. One of our Facebook followers Lesley McBratney comments, “I love running with my other half. Quality time together and a good run. What’s not to love?” Running will offer a hiatus from your day-to-day routine, giving you a chance to catch up on your day, distraction free. “It can be a great way to connect in a fast-paced life,” says Catherine.
At Women’s Running, we believe running is about ‘me time’– time to escape the craziness of day-to-day routine and get some headspace. Running gives you time to think and get perspective on your worries and problems, often meaning you come back feeling mentally refreshed with a renewed sense of energy and mood. You may find running with your partner takes that outlet away from you and, if that’s the case, stay clear, your relationship may only suffer for it.
It’s unlikely both you and your partner will be comfortable running at the same pace immediately. And this will mean compromise. You may have to make your recovery run your partner’s tempo run or vice versa…but it might not be plain sailing at first. One of our readers, Janet Maidment, has found such pacing problems a particular bugbear. “His marathon pace is far quicker than I can even do a single mile so when I’m struggling to keep up, he’s hardly breaking a sweat.” Reader Vikki Coulson agrees: “He runs faster than me and always slows down to my pace which bugs me. I’m happy for him to sprint off and meet me at home afterwards.”
As with pacing, if you partner catches the running bug, it’s going to be mean striking a compromise, in terms of who goes out when. Where at one time, your partner may have got the kids up and ready for school while you squeeze in your morning run, you’re now in sticky territory; what about their run? What if you both want to go? Who’s run is more important? Aligning your schedules and finding a compromise is key to maintaining a healthy running relationship and allowing you both to achieve your goals.
Unsure whether the positives outweigh the negatives? Try a short run with your other half today and find out. It might be worth it, even if only for point number two….
*Brooks Running Survey: brooksrunning.com/en_gb/04-12-2013.html