On The Run

Pros And Cons Of Running With Your Spouse

When I was training for my ultra-trail, my husband accompanied me on most of my long runs as he was to pace me at the race. It was on one of these runs where things went pear-shaped… We were running past Ping Pong Shopping Mall in Tshweneng, heading towards the Railway Line, when it all exploded. At first, I tried to outrun my husband. I say “outrun” but bear in mind my sprint is a recovery run to him! But I thought that me picking up the pace would be a clear sign that I no longer wanted him to run with me. Clearly not. He stuck with me as I maintained a stony silence. But then his very presence became extremely annoying. We ran past the car washes and outdoor hair salons along that road. The workers were already setting up shop for the day and if they listened closely, they would have heard me say, “LEAVE. MY. RUN. AT. ONCE!” He hesitated and later said he wasn’t quite sure whether this was a test. But hearing the sternness in my tone, he left. And that is how I kicked my husband off my long run!  

So is it worth running with your spouse or partner? What are some of the benefits? What are the pitfalls? And more importantly, how can you avoid kicking your spouse off your long run?

The Benefits of Running With Your Partner

Exploring Different Places: There are many places I’m comfortable running alone in the city, taking the necessary precautions that sadly come with being a female runner. But there are also places I’d only ever feel comfortable running with my husband – the train station, bus rank, some of the industrial areas, to name a few. Running with my husband allows me to venture into all the diverse areas that define our city. I get to experience chaotic hives bustling with activity as well as explore the quiet and isolated trails in and around the city’s perimeters.

Having A Personal Photographer: As a runner blogger, taking photos on the run plays a huge role in the whole process. I’m good at spotting opportunities for a photo but lack the skill that other runners have of actually taking the photo on my own. So running with my husband gives me lots of opportunities to take fun and creative photos that I otherwise wouldn’t get. He’s always patient and ready to try different angles until we feel we’ve got the perfect shot.

Engaging in Deep Discussions: We’ve had such awesome conversations on the run. Ditiro and I are similar in many ways BUT we have such varied interests. So not only do we get to discuss our common interests – the kids, work challenges or our hopes/dreams but running with him always gives me the opportunity to learn about things I know very little about. After all our long runs this year, I could write a blog about the history of space exploration! Ha! When you’re working and parenting, sometimes setting aside time for these varied discussions is not easy. Running has been a great way for us to nurture this side of our relationship.

The Pitfalls And How You Can Avoid Them

Accommodating Different Paces: I think for most spouses, there is a stronger runner. That’s certainly the case for us. Ditiro is at least 2.5 minutes faster per km than I am so we usually follow my pace meaning he has to adapt to a much slower pace. When we are on a long run this means he needs several toilet stops, something he never has to do when alone. I must give him full credit though – he has never complained about the pace although it is something I feel guilty about. Our Solution? We don’t run together every weekend. Unless we are running in an area I’m not comfortable alone, we usually start together and then go our separate ways. If I have a specific place I’d like a photo taken, we will arrange when to meet during the run. If we are sticking together for the whole run, I sometimes change it up with some faster intervals.

Dealing With Historical Arguments: Just last week, my husband and I celebrated 18 years since we started dating! We’ve been friends for even longer so let’s just say we’ve accumulated a lot of data between us! And with my very strong memory, if we have an argument, I can bring up every single argument we’ve ever had that is remotely linked to the current one we are having! And for some reason running enhances my ability to fine-tune and collate my thoughts. But I’ve noticed something. These arguments never happen when we are fresh and starting our run. The trigger is usually the 15/16km point when I’ve had enough of the run! Our Solution? When you start feeling tired and irritable, switch on your music or podcast, and zone out! Now is not the time to start any discussion that begins with “Why do you always…” or “I don’t get why you…?

Navigating Different Emotional Needs: So when I run with my girlfriends – this is never an issue. When it comes to emotional topics, we are always on the same wavelength. We know when and how to listen. We get each other’s emotional needs a lot quicker and respond accordingly. In my husband’s words, “sometimes guys are caught off guard as to the purpose of a discussion. Our default is wanting to solve the problem only to find you don’t want a solution but rather someone to empathize.” Spot on! We’re not always looking for Olivia Pope, just someone to hear us out! And my girlfriends always know how to meet this emotional need and vice versa. Guys are sometimes clueless which quickly escalates to the “You never listen” conversation. Our Solution: Pick the right person for the job! If you need an empathetic ear for a particular conversation, find the friend who gives you that. Or if you want that specific discussion with your husband, save it for later and not when you’re exhausted on a 20K run!

Not all spouses run and I’m so grateful mine does! We have seen and experienced so much on our runs – laughter and tears, downpours and the scorching sun, rolling hills and valleys, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, so many gorgeous views as well as the more mundane. But there have been those moments where we’ve tested each others’ patience and now know when it’s best to press play on those music devices! If you run with your spouse or partner, please share your experience! I’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic. And I’m curious… have you ever kicked your spouse off your run… or at least wanted to?!

I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

37 thoughts on “Pros And Cons Of Running With Your Spouse

  1. Haha, Shathiso, I was waiting for this post!! Hilarious!
    Kai is My Personal Running Photographer, too. Over the years, he has become really good at it.

    I like that you have good conversations while running and know when to switch on the music.
    We usually hardly talk – only when we stop midway to enjoy the view. Or to argue about the route and length of our run! Haha, these are “interesting” conversations – I’m glad there are no shop owners nearby to overhear that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My hubs doesn’t run, so kicking him off my run isn’t an issue. I used to feel jealous of other women whose spouses ran with them, but I’ve been running solo for so long it doesn’t bother me anymore. It would be nice to have company, tho…sometimes…:P

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  3. Not a problem for me. My hubby won’t run. If he did he would be fast.

    I think it’s great when couples can run together.

    For me it’s my alone time and time to chat with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband doesn’t run, but we do walk Bandit together most days. Luckily that isn’t tiring. 🙂 Sometimes we have great conversations that way, and I actually know that I can tackle a difficult topic with him most days on a walk (obviously I don’t do this all the time).

    I have other friends who run with their spouse, and sometimes I’m a little envious, but OTOH, sometimes we need a little space, too, right?

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  5. I could have written this, ha ha! My hubby is much more athletically-gifted than myself, so it used to be that he’d be the one running my pace. Things have shifted, somewhat, over the years, and he prefers other sports more…but we do run together on occasion. There have been many runs, though, where he tried to run elbow-to-elbow with me, and that can be annoying. One time, we found ourselves almost in a dead sprint because I was trying to stay slightly ahead of him (on a narrow shoulder of a road) and he kept trying to pass me. Whenever he got by, he’d then “slow down” so I could catch him…even though I didn’t want to LOL

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  6. “Guys are sometimes clueless which quickly escalates to the “You never listen” conversation.”

    This is where the arguments start 😅😅😅😅😅 Guys are not “clueless” – we just understand things differently….🤓

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  7. This is a wonderful and relatable post for me! I’m so glad my husband is a runner too. It’s such a huge part of our lives and weekends! He is much faster than me, but we do often run together on Sundays and I love it. He has also paced me in two marathons and we have fond memories of those races! But there are definitely times I just want him to run ahead and leave me alone to my own pace 🙂

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  8. Great post! My husband doesn’t run any more but we used to try to run together – the problem is that both of us are the stronger one in different ways! He can run faster than me but I can run a LOT further! I do prefer running with my female friends, mainly for that emotional thing, knowing when “I want to stop” is real, etc.!

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  9. This is post is just the best and it was a joy to read, lol. I have never run with a significant other but I can definitely see the pros and cons to it. I don’t actually know if I would want my partner to join me during a run because I can get cranky (lol) but I would much rather do an OTF workout with a partner.

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  10. My husband and I run together now about once a week and its nice to have company! When we’ve trained for marathons we did some long runs together and that was tough. When the run got hard, we got irritated with each other! Back in 2011 we got engaged right before going on vacation. We had alot to drink the first day, and the next morning went for a run together. I was so miserable I kept telling him to leave me alone and I ran away from him!

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  11. My husband is not a runner, and I’m not too sad about that. 😉 LOL on running sharpening your arguing skills (not quite what you said, but …). I’m glad you’ve mostly figured out how to run together.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I kind of envy those couples that can run together sometimes. However, it’s also nice to have my own thing and my own way to escape if I want to. that was super helpful this past year. I tried to train my hubs once for a 5K it very frustrating for both of us. He really hated it but at the same time came to appreciate why I love it.

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    1. I love that he at least got an appreciation for why you love it! And you’re so right – it’s also nice to have that thing that’s yours! I’m happy I have an option to run with him but so happy to run alone and even better with my girlfriends!

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  13. My husband does run, but we don’t usually run together. Our schedules usually don’t match up, and I normally like to run alone. The other day we did run together though and it was unexpectedly fun!

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  14. I love every word of this post! It has been a really long time since my husband and I have run together. He is much faster than I am so I’ve given up on us actually running side-by-side….we start together but he ends up ahead of me and I’m fine with that. We really enjoy exploring new trails and locales together.

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  15. OMG, I am laughing. I mean, you definitely mentioned great reasons for running with a partner but you two are just so cute!! I am so used to running alone that I don’t know what I would do if I had to run with a significant other.

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  16. I run with my husband two days a week and that is plenty. He has always run faster than me, which for us means he runs ahead of me. Now he always wants to run with our dogs and that means that he’s even farther ahead. I feel that the dog is his running partner, not me. He does wait for me but then that involves a break in running which I don’t really want to take.

    Whew, now that I got that off my chest, I will say that I actually enjoy running alone. I can go my own pace and listen to my books. So in the end, it all works out for the best. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Glad you got that off your chest Coach Debbie! Having different paces really adds another challenge. So although I love having the option to run with hubby and do enjoy many of the runs we have together, like you I’m often happy just on my own ☺️

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  17. We don’t run together very often. We aren’t a great match in goals or pacing, so it frustrates both of us. I’m more likely to change up my groove to accommodate him, but it isn’t a regular thing.

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  18. My husband and I used to run together once per week, and I am hoping we can get back into the habit of that soon!

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