Tell Me Tuesday: How to Run with a Spouse

Exhibit A: not Grant and me. (Though would pay money to see him in those plaid shorties!)

So Grant and I have run together twice, as far as I can remember.

The first time was circa 2002, and the biggest memory I have of the run is that I was annoyed. Annoyed he didn't talk with me the way my girlfriends did, annoyed he was barely breathing and I was huffing and puffing, annoyed that it wasn't the isn't-life-grand-and-aren't-we-great-together moment I wanted it to be. He, of course, saw nothing wrong with the run. Thought it was immensely enjoyable, actually.

Exhibit B: Not Grant and me. (We're not movie stars, like Natalie P. and Benjamin M.)

Fast forward about ten years. The second time was on Valentine's Day (note the irony!) in Austin for a half-marathon. It was our first trip (read: one night alone) away together in five years or so. We didn't talk strategy, pre-race: all he knew is that I was gunning for sub 1:50, and all I knew is that he could run that pace easily. So he voluntarily "paced" me for a few miles.

Grant's version of pacing: running about 15 steps in front of me, and then would slowing down until I caught up, and then taking off again. Again, none of that chitchat I'd always imagined we'd have--or at least those "you can do it!" words I'd expect when going for a challenging PR. Around mile 3, I tried to keep calm. "I love you," I blurted as he slowed down to moonwalk back to me, "but I don't want to see you anymore right now." And off he went. Guess what? He had a great race, and it took me until mile 10, at least, to get over him--and myself.

Needless to say, we probably won't try another rendezvous for at least another 10 years, if that. That's not to say that running with a spouse is impossible, but it's like teaching your kids a sport: The situation has the potential to blow up if you don't apply the right dose of love and motivation. If I were to try it again, here's how I'd do it:
  • Before you head out, make a plan. In other words, do that thing that marriage counselors advise: communicate. How far are you going? What kind of run are you planning on doing: easy, moderate, tempo, hard? Who is setting the pace? Pushing the stroller? Pushing the stroller up all hills? Are you bringing music? Will there be any racing each other involved?

    Exhibit C: Not Grant and me. I've never had a blonde ponytail.
  • Let's back up to who is setting the pace question. Men have this irritating hormone called testosterone that allows them to go faster than us with less effort than we estrogen-addled women. And, as many of you know, their jet-pack hormone allows them to leap off the couch and run faster than us, even if you've been training for a marathon for months. They get to run fast, we get to bleed. (Feels fair to me, right?)
  • In other words, unless your husband is truly a new, new runner that has no ego at all, agree that you will set the pace. If need be, use this simple comparison chart:
    If your effort is...
    His effort will be...
    Easy Easy
    Moderate Easy
    Tempo Easy
    Hard Easy-ish This side of easy
    Lungs.are.burning. One step above easy Moderate


  • If running side by side feels like it could cause a rift too big to leap over, go to a track and do a speed workout. You begin your intervals 45 seconds, say, after he starts his so there's no racing and no bragging rights at stake. (See: testosterone.)
  • Or make it a two-part date: the first part, you get sweaty alone. You do an out-and-back run at your own paces (each run for 30 minutes or whatever, then turn and head back to the car) and then you go grab an easy dinner where you enjoy each other's company. And then your combined endorphins will prompt you to get sweaty together. (And everybody wins!)

    Exhibit D: Not Grant and me. But good color combo for Valentine's Day.
  • Don't cop a 'tude. This is mostly aimed at us chicks. Okay, really it's for me, and I'm hoping some of you might act the same way around your spouse. When things get hard physically, I can get really whiny and difficult. I would never act that way around a friend, but my husband has seen me in birth and other really raw situations and he's never backed down. So he's a safe shoulder to whine on when my legs are tired or a hill feels too long. (And yes, as a near 40-year-woman, it embarrasses me to admit this.)
  • When it comes to delicate subjects, tread lightly. Probably not the time to discuss your tricky ovulation cycle or the family budget or your mother-in-law's latest chide. When in doubt, ask yourself: What would Grant do? Then say nothing and just enjoy the run.

Grant and I might be the exception, rather than the rule. I know there are plenty of couples out there that use joint runs as date nights and other times to grow closer together, not father apart. So now you tell us: What guidelines do you use when you run with your spouse?

91 responses to “Tell Me Tuesday: How to Run with a Spouse

  1. Wow, just read this as I’m meeting my husband after work for a hill workout on the trails…I’m nervous because I’ve never done a hill workout (doing the 13.1 challenge) and don’t like being on the trails near dusk by myself. He is a 3 time BQ and the effort comparisons are spot on!
    Lucky for me we are able to run together pretty well, at least when he is nursing an injury.

  2. Do I run with my spouse? No way. Do I run with friend’s spouses? Absolutely. I like being able to hear a male perspective during those inevitable “work things out while you’re running” conversations. If I were to run with my spouse I’d definitely follow your idea!

  3. Quote from husband: “I will run with you but I won’t talk to you”.

    Oooook. Then what good is that?! In 17 years of marriage, we have run twice together…for the reason of the quote above. He is only going for calorie burn and looks at running as a burden. I see running as a good-for-you therapy, sole sister session. Neither the twain shall meet.

  4. I can so relate to this story. My hubby will say “let’s run together” , he means lets leave home at the same time and I will be 1/2 mile ahead of you. I told him that when he has a slow run he needs to stay next to me to stay slow….Yeah right, that won’t happen.
    My question is why do they have to turn everything into a competition, even an easy slow long training run?

  5. I had to train my husband how to run with me. Rule #1. As you approach a corner or split in the path say out loud which way you plan to go instead of veering and nudging the other person to follow you. Such a simple courtesy. #2. If your paces vary greatly, which they probably do, make your hubby run 1 or 2 steps behind you. That way you are truly setting the pace and not getting sucked into a faster and faster pace. #3. Be sure you are carrying the house key. That way if you suddenly realize he was planning to run several miles more than you, you can politely bail on the second half of his run.

    My husband and I run together regularly. He gets me out the door when I’m feeling sluggish and pushes the stroller most of the time. Once we have our route planned we both put on our headphones and run in peace.

  6. I am so with you. I had a similar experience in a 10K once trying to keep up with my husband. I got a side stitch and then I was so mad at myself that it took me the whole race to get over it. The next time we ran the same half marathon I told him, I’m not even going to try to keep up with you. And I had the best race. I told myself…if he wants to slow down, fine, but I’m not going to worry about it and enjoy myself. BTW…I got my 13.1 sweatshirt today…I love it!!

  7. I know I am late to read the post but had to comment because loved every part of it even though my husband and I are the opposite. I want us to run together but I also admit to running about a stride in front of him willing him to pick up the pace until he huffs “go on, leave me”. SORRY!!! Then this past Thanksgiving we both said we’d run our own race and leave it at that. He did agree to stand next to me pre-gun at the front even though he didn’t pass a single person. Now we only casually jaunt together on occasion and then I push the jogger and he sets the pace. He beats me in everything else, including sprint, so I hold my head up high about distance running. Thanks for the laugh!

  8. OMG. I love that chart used to compare the running effort! That’s totally my husband and I. I love the idea of running with him, but it’s basically a disaster every time. He’s hardly out of breath and I’m dying trying to find a way to breathe. And then when I do breathe, I’m spending my time thinking about how I’m dragging him down and then out loud I’m whining and complaining about how hard it is for me and how easy it is for him. So glad that I’m not alone in this!

  9. He runs on the dreadmill. I race and bring home coffee. He enjoys the coffee, listens to my race stories and admires the hardware I earned that morning. It works for us.

  10. LOLOL! OMG, I could’ve written this myself! The Hubs and I ran our first race together, as in finishing together. He’s so much faster than me. I literally caught him speed walking at one point until he caught my evil eye. He was running backwards, taking pics of me, talking effortlessly, and while I huffed and puffed alongside of him, I couldn’t help but think what a great pacer he is for me. He pushed me and helped me get over the rough parts. I don’t mind seeing how easy it is for him…and even his little joking about my turtle pace. Somehow he knows when to shut up and when I need more cowbell. Wish he could pace me for every one of my races! ok, not every one, I guess, lol!

  11. Funny you should post about this! My husband is the one who introduced me to running. He took me on my very first RUN. 1.5 miles. No stopping. I could barely walk for two whole weeks because I was so stiff and sore. Seriously. As I began to find my own rhythm running with him became impossibly frustrating for both of us, as he always wanted to set the pace and go much faster than me. We gave up all hope of running together for TEN YEARS! Until just a few months ago… we went on a run together and it was GREAT!!! He ran at my pace. Afterwards I asked him to train with me for my first half marathon (coming up in March). So far our training runs have been fantastic! He runs at my pace, though we agree on a set pace before hand and stick to it, to set both of our expectations. Yay for running dates!!!

  12. So I’m the distance runner, my husband is the sprinter. He would kick my butt all day in a 800 or less, but a mile or more, I have the edge. It’s fun, because he’s okay with me being better as a distance runner. In college, it was his idea to run a marathon together and I thought he was crazy! 4 months later we finished the race, not together, but me 20 minutes ahead of him. He encouraged me to run my best. That is a real man! 12 years of marriage now with 3 kids, I miss running with him, but I know we will have more opportunities once our 3 young ones are a little older.

  13. Just don’t do it. He has softball with the dudes and I have never asked to ply, nor has he asked me. I show up if they make the play-offs and yell “hey sexy” from the bleachers. He lets me run and holds down the fort and the couch, and shows up at race finish lines when I ask and yells “hey sexy”. He doesn’t ask to play and I don’t invite him. It’s all good….21 tears later

  14. My husband and I run together regularly. Usually we train on our own during the week when work schedules are tighter, but we nearly always do our long runs together on the weekend. Running independently during the week allows us to run at our own paces, our own favorite routes, and it allows me (the social runner) to run with girlfriends, too.

    I call our weekend long runs “date runs” if they are on Saturday or “worshipping at the Church of the Deserted Trail” if they are on Sunday. Our kids are old enough to be left home alone, which makes date runs a lot easier.

    I dragged him along on this running project, but he has become a willing participant, even though I am still the one setting all the goals and picking the races and training plans. He and I are doing our first marathon together in May. I train more, cross train more, and plan out all our training, but he gets the running plan done, and he is generally willing to do whatever craziness I set out for us. He lets me plan the run routes and lets me set the pace. Fortunately, our paces are not terribly far apart. Right now, our ideal training paces differ by just a minute a mile or so (and even overlap by a little window on my fast end and his slow end), and he is cheerfully willing to go slower for me, and, when I am feeling strong enough, I push my pace towards my fast end for him, even though he never asks. He does love to do a fast last mile or so on our long runs, so we usually split up for the last half mile to mile at the end, and I get to watch him cruise back to the car, where he gets out the chocolate milk before I get there.

    Of course, being a MAN, he is getting faster more quickly than I am, but I figure that if I keep training harder and more than he does, I’ll hopefully be able to keep my pace close enough to his that we can still enjoy long runs together.

    There is nothing more awesome than puttering along together, along the river, just us and our dog, for a few hours, and then getting his high five and kiss at the end of a 15 mile long run. Or, when that runner’s high hits at mile 10 or mile 15, I get to smile at him and share the bliss. Or, when a favorite love song comes on the playlist, sometimes I sing the lyrics to him. It’s my favorite part of the week. We usually chat some, and listen to our tunes some, too. I always keep an ear bud in one ear, and the other ear open, so I can always hear him to chat. Then, when conversation breaks, I just tune back into my playlist.

    He’s also super helpful in always handling the water/gatorade/gels/etc logistics. I hate stopping on a run, but my husband doesn’t mind. Our (awesome) dog carries a backpack with fuels, gatorade bottles, etc, and my husband will happily jog ahead a bit, grab stuff from the dog’s pack, then catch back up with me, hand off bottles and gels, etc. He’ll do that every couple miles or whenever I need something. When I run solo, of course I do all that myself, but there is something very wonderful about being nurtured and cared for that way in the midst of a long hard run.

    Yes, I have the best running husband in the universe. I know. (And, no, we’re not newlyweds. Married 16 years last June, lol.)

  15. While I would relish running with your co-author, it’s just not gonna happen soon. The reason why: treadmills, unlike trailers, don’t come in double-wides.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  16. My husband of 21 years runs with me every time. We just started a year ago and he doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body. Any competitions between us go on in my head and he is blissfully unaware. As a matter of fact he usually sets the pace only because he says I go too fast when I zone out. He’s definitely a keeper!

  17. I’m lucky. My husband is a very recreational runner, so I’m the faster of us, by quite a bit. (To be fair, “faster” looks something like a 9:30/10:00 pace vs an 12:00+ pace.) I push the stroller (and his pace) when we run (and we only run races), and cheer him on. Then in the final stretch, I break away (still with the stroller) and we all call it good. Our first race together was accidental, but this seems to work for us. Mostly, I just need to not push him too hard and we’re all good.

    It probably also helps that he’s a much faster swimmer than me without even trying. We’re both good with that.

  18. My husband (Coach) just jog/walked/ran a 5K with me on Saturday. He walked me and let me keep the pace until the turn around. Then he starts doing track drills along the road. Seriously, those scissor step things that open up your hip flexors… then he hops in the ditch and starts doing A-skips. I love it. He kept me going and he kept me from whining. Then he pushed me to run the last bit to the finish line. We won’t run a lot together. he doesn’t like it as much as I do.

  19. My husband is actually contemplating starting to run – he chided me when I got the treadmill and said I wouldn’t use it (I use it ALL the time), and now with the successful weight loss journey I’ve been on, and most recently maintaining the loss (which is harder than losing it I might add) – he needs to drop a few pounds. He’s dropping hints that some day I should show him how to use it. I, being the conscientious, plan-following, anal-retentive woman I am, have cautioned him to not just get on and run but look into a couch-to-5K program like I did so he doesn’t injure himself. I’m thinking after reading all of the above posts, I should just tell him to go for it – testosterone will guide him :).

  20. This was really a great post! I love the “IDEA” of running with my husband but no the “REALITY” of running with him! He joined me for the last half of my first marathon and it was terrible! He was totally silent…and I freaked out! lol! Lots of F-bombs and “Why aren’t you talking to me?” I was 3.5 months pregnant and at mile 15 – needless to say I was hurting! He was totally clueless that I was needing someone to just chit chat and distract me! NEVER AGAIN!

  21. Great advice! My husband and I run together about two times a week, sometimes more. We have had great runs, and terrible runs. We have had many arguments, and settled just as many. We’ve had a few nice talks out there, but honestly…with the exception of one long run…our best runs are usually when we sync our music or podcast and run at our own pace. Right now (although this comes in goes in cycles) he is faster than me, so he goes ahead, and I am okay with that. The dog’s pace is somewhere between my husband’s pace and my own, so she hangs out in the middle. After the run, we both feel great, and it is the perfect time to catch lunch:) Oh, and yes, we do realize we are pretty spoiled by this schedule. He works odd hours, so we pay in other ways, but do get some time together while the kids are at school.

  22. Fast, sweaty, skinny, runner husband and I have run together fewer than a handful of times in 15 years. I can’t keep up and someone has to be home with kidlets. Best strategy for us yet was running a 5 K at the same time this past Saturday, just not together. (All 3 little runners ran it too.) We placed in the Sweetheart Division (combined times) but didn’t even see each other until way after we ran all the kids in… Technically if we win together, I guess we ran together!

  23. My husband and I DO run together. And love it! But you have to understand my husband. He runs to hang out with me, and to keep up on his Army PT tests (he’s an Army doctor). He really has no interest in times. Plus I train a lot harder than him. So even though he may be able to run faster, he’s not always as in good of shape as me, and he doesn’t ever leave me behind. We’ve run 2 full marathons and 3 halfs together. And now that our 4 kids are getting older (our oldest has just hit babysitting age), we can actually escape in the mornings and sometimes on weekends kid-free for our runs. We are both very busy people, so I think its really good for our marriage to have time alone to chat… and vent frustrations… and sometimes just run side by side quietly.

  24. I’m the runner, but I’m fairly new to it, and my husband used to run quite a bit, years ago. I talked him into running a 5K Turkey Trot with me on Thanksgiving. He was okay about doing it, but complained during the run that his knee was hurting. I told him to suck it up. (He’s always telling me suck it up when something hurts related to running!) That evening, his knee was very swollen and even after some ice, by the next day he was limping pretty badly. Now we’re in February and his knee still bugs him, and he gets to blame me for it. LOL
    I agree with others: Don’t do it! 🙂

  25. My husband was the runner for many years before I took it up as a challenge (laid down by him). We “ran” once together during my first 3-6 months. It consisted of him being always 5 steps in front of me (which annoyed me no end) and asking me “not to hold myself back”. Hold back!! I was huffing and puffing and ready to die and it wasn’t even mile 1. Then I fell in love with running. I kept going and going longer. We have run 2 more times together since. On our 10th anniversary, we ran 10 miles together. He was still 5 steps in front of me, but I let it pass.

    He’s still the faster one, but I’m the one with the endurance to easily go 16 miles and I’m catching up too. What was once my hard-I’m-about-to-puke effort was his way-below-easy effort. Now my tempo pace is his easy effort.

    And he’s the one calling me crazy for going the distance and wanting to do marathons, etc. 🙂

  26. First hubby, we ran together occasionally. I was more of a runner than him but he needed cardio in the army. Sometimes we clicked and other times we separated. Second hubby, is seriously overweight with health problems and couldn’t jog half a mile. He wasn’t athletic when we met but we married for better or worse. Great topic, Dimity you make us laugh! (And in the podcast, too)

  27. When I was a college senior, I had a roommate who loved to run. I agreed to go running with her, but suggested we ask some of the cute boys that lived in the apartment below us. Luckily, the one I was interested in agreed to go running with us, and a few weeks later, when we realized we were both only running because we wanted to hang out with each other, we stopped running.
    15 years later we are now married, and still don’t run together. DH is a swimmer (we both were swimmers in HS) with bad knees that really don’t allow running, and I only recently took up running.
    The good news for me is that my 10 year old son goes with me, and for now I am a little bit faster than him, but don’t mind his slower pace. I’m sure there will be a time in the not too distant future when he leaves me in his dust!

  28. Oh man. I am not an “experienced” runner. But last year, after almost 2 years had gone by from me starting Couch to 5k, I decided to tackle a 10k. I think I was about 1 month out from it, and needed to get a 5 miler. My husband and I had been together since 1999. Not once has he ever laced up his shoes and gone for a run. He’s genetically blessed in that he can eat and drink pretty much what he wants, and he’s relatively fit, but he is not a runner. Anyways, the day I need to do my 5 miler, he tells me he “wishes” he supported me in my running more. Laughingly, I tell him he chose the wrong run to try and jump in on. He looks quizzically at me and wonders “why”. I tell him theres no way he can just get up and come run 5 miles with me without hurting himself. He informs me, he can, and he’ll push our 3 year old son in the stroller while he’s at it (did I mention our son is 45 lbs at the time?)! At this point, I can tell he’s serious, but now I’M thinking of backing down. What if he can? What if he beats me? Could he? Seriously? I’m a pretty slow runner…All these thoughts crashing about. Finally, I call his bluff and tell him to go get dressed. He comes down in ( no lie) cargo shorts with a belt (and his leatherman) t shirt, and his sketcher shoes. I snort at him, and off we go. The first mile I can tell I’m in trouble, but I keep the faith. I’ll pounce in the last mile, I decide confidently. Well. The last mile rolls around, and at this point, his t shirt is off, and I think I smell exhaustion. I get ready to turn up the heat…and he takes off. Literally. Like, I can’t see him around the corner anymore. I wanna drop to my knees and cry, I want to wail “it’s not fair!’, I want to storm off and sulk. He gets home about 2 minutes before me, and is dousing his body in hose water. “What the hell?” I ask him angrily. He looks up and says “If I slowed down to keep pace with you I never would have finished, so I had to sprint home”…………….. WHAT???!!?!?!!? Anyways, as demoralizing as it was, I would love to run with him again. I’ve got a half marathon on my mind for this coming fall, and I don’t think he could do 10 ;p

  29. I must be the exception. I love to run with my husband. Because he likes to run slow. He can run fast but he’d prefer to head out for a long run and got s.l.o.w. I started taking him on runs where I was adding distance so I would be sure to stay at an easy pace and not get discouraged, and so I had company. He also pushes the Jogger so win/win!!

  30. My husband runs with a much a much faster crowd, so to speak. I love running with him, but it doesn’t happen very often. When he isn’t training, he will sometimes run at my pace.

  31. Laughing out loud for real, Dimity. Thanks for an awesome post. Also, no, hubs and I don’t run together… and now I know why! Testosterone. That must be some powerful stuff.

  32. hahaha…this is so true! The only time we ever started a run, he dutifully gave me a peck on the cheek as we crossed the starting line and off he went. We ran about 100 meters together. That was fine with me.

  33. I can SO relate to this. A run with my hubby is like 2 minutes of “togetherness”. He is way faster than me. If he tries to go my pace it gives him shin splints, lol.

  34. My husband I have done a couple of races together, and when we visit the in-laws and have some free childcare we’ll run easy together and talk. I like those easy runs–but I wouldn’t *train* with him.

    He is *much* faster than I am, and I pretend that it bugs me that he can lead me on a trail run when I’ve been marathon training for months and he hasn’t and he nonetheless makes me look like the newbie (this happened two months ago). But really it just makes him kinda hot to me. :^)

  35. I have begged and pleaded with my husband since before we were married to NEVER run with me, but to no avail. Yes, he’s left me alone on my runs for the majority of our 22-and-counting marriage, but it wasn’t till a half marathon last year that it really soaked in that I do NOT like running with him. We’re planning to run the same race again this year, but have agreed to a spot to meet AFTER we finish separately. Don’t know why that man won’t listen to me sometimes . . .
    ; )

  36. I’m actually running a 10 mile race with my husband this weekend. This will be our 3rd race together and the longest distance he’s ever raced. Our plan is always the same – run the first mile or two together then say goodbye…damn testosterone! I’m learning to accept that he’ll beat me. And we know better than to try to train together. But he’s my biggest supporter and the first to tell people that I’m the “real” runner in the family so in the end it’s all good 🙂

  37. The chart is PRICELESS. I think I’m going to copy, paste, enlarge, print, and hang.

    That said, while DH runs occasionally, and we have run in a few of the same races, his approach to running is completely different from mine. ONCE, I happened upon him at the end of both of our runs (mine was 8 his was 6). We were on a slight downhill near home, and he started picking up the pace. I hung with him and was all proud of myself. then… he said “wow, you sure don’t make use of your long legs with those choppy strides.”

    Let’s just say, the run was the only place he got to use his testosterone that weekend. 😉

  38. A few years ago when my husband was out of work I asked him if he wanted to run with me. We started out slowly and it was nice to chat and solve all the problems of the world in 30 minutes or less. He’s since done about 15 5k’s and has even run up to 6 miles but he won’t go longer. He said he has no desire to run long if he needs to carry fluids, eat gels, or take pain medication! I enjoy our running dates. I feel like sometimes it’s the only time we get to complete a sentence without being interrupted. We’re not competitive with each other because he knows that while he might be able to beat me in a sprint, I would kick a$$ for the long haul!!

  39. LOVE the comparison chart! It’s so true. When my hubby to get a chance to run together, it’s always necessary I communicate with him ahead of time whether or not we will be running together or running TOGETHER. Because they are so different. So to prevent any hurt feelings, we have been sticking to weight training together.

  40. My husband and I have done our long weekend runs several times together. He is about 2 mins/mile faster than me but will run my pace and is very supportive of me. The only annoying thing is the “shuffling” sound his running shoes make due to the slower pace. Oh, and the fact that his legs always feel so great after a long run while mine ache the rest of the day!

  41. I don’t run with my husband very often…we ran together while we dated. He is much faster than I am. When we were both training for events in Baltimore (him-the full marathon; me-the half) we both worked out at the park and each time we passed each other we exchanged the stroller. I did ask him to help pace me through the second part of another half marathon…it was good to run with him; he kept me going and was very motivating and fixed up my tired form. I don’t think he won any brownie points with any of the other women who heard him encouraging me to pick up the pace…he overheard them say, “How about telling her she is doing a good job.” I wanted my husband to push me; the conditions of the race were pretty bad that year…and if he hadn’t have picked me up around mile 9 I really don’t know how long it would have taken me to finish…

  42. We will never run together on training runs-I’m much slower, and our together runs are BORING. I feel bad listening to music, but he doesn’t talk, so the miles drag on.

    But we just ran three races together-2 half marathons and a full-because I signed us up for them and then got pregnant. He could have finished in 1/4 of my time, literally, but wanted to make sure nothing happened to me on the course. While I had to powerwalk most of the course, he stayed right by my side the entire way. It took us almost exactly 7 hours to finish the marathon and his feet were bleeding-he wasn’t use to be on them for so long-but he didn’t complain at all. THAT is love. We’ll probably never run a race together at the same pace again, but those were really lovely memories. We have a lot of fun pictures together on the course (Disney races) and call them ‘family races’ because the baby was riding along. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to finish the marathon without his encouragement-it was much tougher than I thought it would be (granted, I did a half marathon the day before….)

    We have done the same triathlons together which works REALLY well. He’s in the men’s division, so he can go as fast and crazy as he wants. He’s finished by the time I cross the line, so he’s had time to calm down and relax before I see him. That’s the best way to do it! 😉

  43. I’ve only run with my husband a couple times; not because he’s better/faster, but because he doesn’t like running. It aggravates a knee injury that he got while playing basketball in high school.

    We do bike together. When I first started riding years ago, he would ride his mountain bike while I rode my road bike. He had been riding for years, and I couldn’t keep up with him on his road bike. I improved over the years, and we can now ride together (both on our road bikes). He trains for longer rides than I do, so we usually do my training together and then he finishes his extra miles while I head home.

  44. What a fun post!
    We don’t often run together, only because I like the early morning and he is a lunch time runner. But we did do a lot of our long weekend runs together training for TCM last summer. Mostly because he wanted to see what all the fun was about – when I would come home after a run with my girlfriends I would tell him how much fun it was. So he started joining us. He could easily out run us, but seldom did on those long runs. And on marathon day, even though all his training said that he could finish waaaaay faster than me, he stuck with me (and my girlfriend) the whole way. And that was his plan – he told me, “I know how fast I can run this, I already ran the race in my mind. I don’t need to prove it on race day.” Love that guy!
    He is signed up for TCM this year – to run his own race….

  45. My husband and I attempted one race together. I lost him within 1/4 mile of the starting line and ran the rest of the race by myself. Now, we never run together unless I specifically ask him to run WITH me, which hasn’t happened yet. 🙂

  46. We run together once a week. It’s my long run of 7-10 miles. It’s his easy run after his long run of 10-15 the day before. As much as I complain about it before we go – every time:-) – I’m always happy afterwards. He pushes me harder than I would myself. He knows I have more in me than I think I do. For every “I can’t do this” from me. I hear “Of course you can. Don’t give up!” He has always been my biggest fan and cheerleader. He has convinced me that I can do a marathon. He has promised to run beside on each long training run until at least 15 miles. After that we’ll see. I couldn’t do this without him. Well, maybe I could, but I wouldn’t want too!

  47. My husband is a wonderful “runners” husband. He doesn’t run (neither does anyone else in the family including the dog).

    He always asks how my run went, is excited for me when I run faster, drives me to races and is my cheering section no matter the weather plus he encourages me to go for runs when I’m thinking of slacking off. He and the kids ride dirtbikes and I run. It works!

  48. I abstain from exercising with my dearly beloved. Perhaps we could make it work….but it’s nice to have my thing…and he is good at keeping the kids whilst I do it.

  49. This post is so funny, and I totally relate. As I said on Twitter, Ben is motivated by “sweet” talk prior to any sport we try to play together. He’s normally the sweetest guy, but give him a tennis racket or jog together, and he just can’t help himself. So I always promise to put his testosterone to work if he behaves himself during the workout.

    It works like a charm (with the occasional reminder).

  50. Last weekend we did our first run together, 8 miles. Uncharacteristic for us, we actually made a plan before our run. We were both sheepishly reaching for our music when we asked each other, “um, are we going to ‘talk’ on this run?” and we were both relieved that neither expected it. He’s more competitive but I’m in better shape, so we actually ran together!

    I love the idea of running with him. We don’t have a designated date night and having sprung for a babysitter on a Saturday morning was awesome. I think we ended up talking more than if we’d gone to a movie together!

  51. Wish I could get my husband to walk, let alone run. But, if he did run we’d probably use the rule learned while trying to play golf together – Don’t do it!

  52. I have only ever run twice with my husband. The first was when we were dating and I had put off ever jogging with him because he complained about running with his slow roommate. When we finally did end up jogging together, he got injured so we didn’t end up going very far. The second time was just for a two mile run and I was able to keep up (because it was two miles). But he still runs much faster than me and because I get grumpy at a certain point in my run, it’s just better that we run without the other. You know, makes the whole running into each other’s arms at the end that much better 😉

  53. So, so true. Occasionally my (nonrunner) husband will try to be “supportive” by going for a run with me. Which is to say, he chatters away for 30 minutes without breaking a sweat while I do all I can to breathe and not strangle him when he says “this hill should be no problem for you because you run so much!” Which is why in 15 years of our coupledom we have run together exactly 4 times.

  54. I have run numerous short races, a few half marathons, and 1 marathon with my husband. I love racing with my husband because he pushes me. But I dislike training with him, he always runs like 5 feet in front of me and constantly keeps turning around making sure I’m still coming and it just annoys me. I usually tell him to just go ahead if he wants but he never wants to so I constantly feel like I’m slowing him down. I still like going running with him though, although now we are quite the sight. 2 BOB joggers (1 borrowed from our neighbor) and our dog. We can’t run next to each other if we tried, there’s no room.

  55. Last year my husband signed up to do the same half marathon as me. At first I was really annoyed that he would absolutely beat me. But then he said he would run it with me – whatever pace I was doing, he would do. So we only had one training run together – a 10 miler a few weeks before. It was his longest training run – all of his others were not more than 5 miles. So frustrating! But, I usually run alone so it was awesome having him to talk to – especially when I got a stomach cramp during the last mile and wanted to walk SO bad! Yes, frustrating that I trained WAY harder and that he stopped for a bathroom break and ran a 7 min mile to catch up with me, but whatever. So I say, I set the pace and he keeps up the conversation + buys brunch afterward! We’re doing it again this May 🙂

  56. My dh is one of those natrually-fit people. UGH! However, he completely supports my running (while he completely doesn’t understand the appeal of distance running 🙂 ). He’s always been willing to run up to 3 miles with me (3! that’s his limit!) but early on my pace was so slow it was literally painful for him, and uber-frustrating for me. Very bad!

    Now that my pace has improved, while it’s still ‘easy!!!’ for him, it’s do-able. And he understands my desire for a running partner when inside, and his desire for me to have a running partner OUTside.

    As for technique…He completely lets me set the pace, although my competitive nature typically drives me to run faster than I would solo. If I’m doing a long run (since his limit, as he continues to remind me is 3 miles!), he’ll come join me for part of it. Sometimes he’ll run a couple laps at his own pace after our 3 miles, while I continue on at my own pace, or he’ll run up to a mile at his own pace before I join him. Either way lets him really stretch his legs and run for FUN, before running for support.

    I’ve learned from talking with other mother runners that men don’t talk while they run (although I, too, had hoped this would be great couple-convo time). So I’ve come to re-define my expectations and appreciate the fact that he’s choosing to run, because *I* want to, and he wants to support *me*. It’s the commitment to US that matters, not whether we look like a couple of non-married models in Runners World. 🙂

  57. Ugh! Hated running “with” him!! Chris at first only did up to 3 miles but he was faster. I hated it. No talking, no fun, just him beating me. And I ran more often and further. I wanted it to be MY thing not his. Major chip on shoulder. Then he stopped. I kept going. Then he listened to other peoples advice which was the same as mine that he didn’t listen to. Now he runs but paces himself. He admitted that when he pushed himself he didn’t enjoy running. Now he does. And I’m faster. Quite a bit. Now he hates running “with” me but he understands the angst I had for him. I put in more runs and further (still) but he’s training smart and slowing down. His time is getting faster slowly like it should. Now that he’s not a butt head and I’m not angry it’s actually fun. We start together and at the end get to talk about our run. He says he’s proud of me and I’m a badass but it’s hard that I’m faster. I tell him to get over it and keep being consistent – his time will catch up. He’s never done a race and I really want him to. Some of our kids are now runners so we have all different speeds going on and that makes it easier since the family’s time is all over the map. I still prefer running with some girls or a group. I like the chatting, the camaraderie. But I’ll keep him. Until he passes me….

  58. Mine refuses to run…says it’s his stomach issues, but I think it’s his testosterone. He thinks he can’t keep up with me! He could, but he won’t and I don’t push the issue because we tend to get competitive with each other and I think that would ruin running for me. I like having my own thing.

    1. I hear you, Jen. I had one boyfriend who, I’m pretty sure, broke up with me because I could outrun him (read: my 9:30 miles we’re trumping his 10:00’s). Let the stomach issues continue…

  59. DH will only run if
    A. a bear is chasing him or
    B. he needs to get in a better defensive positon
    My guideline is to out run him!

  60. My husband is new to running. He considers it the punishment they had to do in high school baseball practice. In fact, he says that is why he played baseball…no running involved. But, he is trying to get moving. This past weekend we ran his first ever 5K together. I had to slow my pace considerable to run with him (and change races as I’d originially planned, and trained for, the 15K). However, I was thrilled to get to do the race with him and push him to keep going. I’m sure we’ll still run together when we can (i.e. when the kids are at the grandparents’ or it’s date night…and yes, we started date night with a run a couple of weeks ago), but it can’t be my only running. I need that “me” time…which happens to be 4:30 a.m.

    1. Christy: you are a good woman. I hope your husband appreciates your sacrifice (I realize it’s not a sacrifice, per se, but I can’t think of a better word…maybe contribution to his running?). Anyway, nice job.

  61. I have only run with my spouse (of 20 years) once. I’m the runner and he’s not, but I talked him into running some sprints with me, assuring him that he could handle it since we were doing short distances at a time. I had to show off of course, by blasting past him as we started, and on the 4th sprint back I pulled my hamstring. Really cool, huh? I had to limp back to the car, but I’m still pretty sure he was impressed at my amazing speed…. So my tip for running with your spouse is…DON’T!!

  62. We’ve had some successful runs together – mostly ones that don’t involve the kids. I’m more apt to stop if they cry. He’ll stop for nothing. That said, he’s had great runs with the kids and himself. LOL But I like long distance, he likes short distance. I beat him in the long distance, he beats me in the short. Maybe a 10K should be our thing LOL

  63. My husband thinks long distance running is absurd! He is exercises in other ways, but running more than 2 miles is crazy talk in his book. That’s ok though. He supports me being active and knows this is one of the least disruptive sports I could choose our family.

  64. My husband is the one who trained me when I first started running, and I would curse him the whole time. But something worked because now I run half-marathons ALONE. We occasionally run together as an easy run (or fast paced walk for him). 🙂

  65. I love running with my husband! We spent the first months of our dating lives training for our very first half marathon together, and went on to train for our first marathon together also. We don’t run together as much as we’d like anymore as it’s hard to find time when we can get out together. Every chance we get (like if my parents are staying over and will babysit) we head out on the paths together. Our paces are super similar too – infact over the last year it’s been me kicking his arse <>.

  66. You are not alone! Many years ago I “ran” some with my husband. This was before I was a runner. By the end I was usually yelling at him while crying hysterically. Definitely not fun.

    I run just fine with my girl friends and love every minute of it, but I have no desire to run with my husband. I’ll be happy to love him after the run is over.

  67. I’ve run with my husband a few times, but seeing as we need someone to watch the kids it does not happen often. When we go together he always uses music (and has it loud!) so there is no talking. He is much faster then me by about 2 min per mile and he offers to run behind me so that we stay at my pace. He says he does not mind as he gets to stare at my butt.

  68. He’s committed to my long runs. So he’ll come drive in the car and find me and hand off water bottles, Gu, chapstick or other needed supplies.

    Best non-runner husband ever !!!!

  69. Dimity, this post made my day! It’s so true. My husband and I trained for and ran two half marathons together, as well as a couple of 10ks. For us, the key is to decide in advance how far and how fast we plan to run, as well as the route we’re going to take. He gets upset if he thinks I’m pushing the pace or running the slightest bit ahead of him. And, he hates to talk when we’re running. Our recent guidelines are that we’ll run together once in awhile, and at races we’ve agreed to meet at the finish line.

  70. While I was hoping there would be ideas to get a complete non-running husband to become a runner, I know in my heart that it’s best to let him stay a non-runner. We tried once, signing up for a 10k with friends a LONG time ago, and I’m actually the one who doesn’t want to slow down. He still considers running the punishment that a coach makes you do when you screw up at basketball practice. What hubby and I have done is try the two sports that we actually enjoy doing together- skiing and tennis. We’re both happy because we’re on an even ‘playing field’ if you will, and it still gets our hearts pumping.

    1. Sorry to disappoint you Michaela, but it sounds like you’ve got some good sports to do together. He’ll run if he wants to; I’ve learned you definitely can’t force anybody to love (or even stick with) running.

  71. The reason I started running is because my husband can’t (herniated disks) and he needed someone to do the running leg of a tri.
    The comparison chart would totally be us, though, as that’s what happens when we walk! Hmm, I think it’s best we don’t run together….

  72. My plan? Leave him home! Running is the thing I do for me to make me a better wife, mother and person. He only runs when he is chasing someone(he is a cop). He like weights and the gym. I would rather poke myself in the eye with a stick than go lift weights. So we work out on opposite schedules and then meet for dinner. The time apart is good for each of us and gives us something to talk about!

  73. My guideline is not to run with Sweetie at all. He can run for groceries or run after the kids while I’m out on my run. He told me he was going to start a workout/eating healthy regime after the Superbowl. I wonder if he met this year’s game? But, if he did start back up with running there is no doubt he would beat me!

  74. Haha! This is so true! My boyfriend is a much faster runner than me (let’s say he’s aiming fora sub 1:05 and me a sub 1:38 at the cherry blossom 10 miler in April) and we’ve ran together a couple of times. Usually he keeps me in front and hell hang back and run circles (literally) to keep his pace down and to increase his mileage (or turn down a street and then back and still catches up to me). Sometimes he’ll start off with me as a warm up and then take off after a mile. I’m usually okay with this since I usually feel extremely pressured to run faster so he’ll continue to run with me….which usually results in me getting burnt out quicker (I swear I run 6 miles on my own and I’m not completely dying by mile 4!!!)

    Great post for V-day! Also–it is nice when your significant other runs too–automatic running buddy when you need the security of another person while out running. I’m sure your man won’t say no to a slow run when it comes to safety!

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